For Retailers, Seeing is Believing
By: Craig DiLouie

On behalf of Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) created a retail lighting vignette called Lux, where retailers could see firsthand directional LED lamps and how they compared to conventional technologies.

CLTC invited retailers to participate in the demonstration and complete a survey. For the retailers, Lux was revealing: Of the 87 retailers participating, five launched upgrade projects soon after their experience with the vignette. The survey results, meanwhile, are highly revealing for the rest of us about how retailers evaluate lighting products.

The retailers spanned a broad range of store types and specialties, with a concentration in apparel and boutique, where one would expect a great deal of directional lighting. Among the survey respondents:

  • Fifty-six percent are not satisfied with their current lighting system.
  • Forty-six percent evaluate their lighting system every one to two years and another 31% every three to five years.
  • Seventy-five percent are considering upgrading to LED technologies.
  • Seventy-three percent look for the cheapest product when evaluating new lighting.
  • Forty-seven percent say a lighting upgrade should increase sales, while 14% say it should decrease costs (37% believe it should do both).
  • Fifty-five percent require a payback period of less than six to 12 months.
  • Seventy-one percent found up-front costs of LED too high and 57% found the payback period too long.
  • Fifty-four percent say “lack of understanding” is a reservation in upgrading lighting.

From the data, the conclusion could be made that retailers are considering upgrading their lighting and expect good performance, energy savings, and higher sales but are hampered in their decisions by initial cost. Demonstrations like Lux are valuable because they educate the retailer about lighting (only about half of the respondents knew the meaning of “color temperature”), the latest LED options, benefits such as longevity and high savings, incentives such as utility rebates, and general performance in a real-world setting.

*For more information on The Consumer Preference Survey on Directional LED Replacement Lamps for Retail Applications is available as a free download from

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