Both retailers and consumers are increasingly choosing higher-efficiency LED lights over incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, and General Electric is responding, announcing plans to end CFL production in favor of providing more LED options.
GE announced Monday that it would phase out the sale of CFL bulbs in the US over the next year.
The company plans to work with retail partners, like Walmart and Sam’s Club, to manage its shift to LED.
While CFL bulbs — which use gas instead of a filament — were once seen as a more cost- and energy-efficient alternative to incandescents, GE says CFL demand has waned in recent years, with the bulbs only accounting for about 15% of sales.
According to GE, the light from the bulbs was too hard, didn’t work with dimmers, flickered, and took too long to warm up and light a room.
Advancing technology and increased demand has allowed manufacturers to improve the light quality and cut the costs of LED bulbs. According to GE, LED sales increased by 250% in the last year.
LEDs now account for 15% of the 1.7 billion bulbs sold in the U.S. each year, GE says, with use of the lights expected to reach 50% of households by 2020.
“These LED lightbulbs are starting to replicate what the electrical filament has done for over 100 years — providing that look and warm ambience that people are used to,” GE Lighting chief operating officer John Strainic said in a statement.
GE says the shift to LED production fits in with its digital transformation, which includes a new division called Current. That part of the company integrates LED, solar, energy storage, and electric vehicle businesses with cloud-based platform that identifies and delivers cost-effective energy solutions.