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Let there be light: Diwali brings shining opportunities for India’s LED industry 

With the Indian government pulling the plug on LED imports, domestic manufacturers have a massive opportunity to expand their footprint in the market. LED exporters being able to offer cheaper prices have hitherto dominated the Indian market, outselling local businesses. This Diwali (Festival of Light, celebrated this year on 14 November), however, could spark a new phase for the Indian lighting sector as demand for festive and decorative lighting presents a lucrative avenue for domestic manufacturers. 

“Localising LED supply chain will not only help in meeting festive demands during this Diwali, but also kindle a new confidence among domestic manufacturers to capitalise on the momentum,” said executive director of Messe Frankfurt Asia Holdings Ltd, Raj Manek.

According to a recent report from the Electric Lamp and Component Manufacturers Association (ELCOMA), the Indian lighting market is expected to decline by INR30bn (US$400m) over 2020-21 due to  Covid-19  and slow recovery rates. However, the association is confident the Indian lighting industry can make a strong comeback through localisation as Diwali festivities bring back demand.

LED lamps

Shyam Sujan, secretary general, ELCOMA said: “Although the lighting industry is currently facing a slowdown due to global supply chain disruption, the industry is expected to bounce back stronger by gaining 5% year-on-year growth in the next three years with LED market occupying 92% share of total lighting value. As the economy resettles, the step to localise the supply chain will definitely strengthen the industry and eventually help us become one of the major players in the global lighting segment.” 

Even though many LED assembly plants operate in India, there is still a huge dependency on imports of LED lights, tubes and chips.

During a webinar on the impact of Covid-19 on the lighting industry organised by Messe Frankfurt India, industry players gathered together to discuss the fate of the LED segment and the need for increasing domestic capabilities. “The Covid crisis has been a real eye-opener to the Indian LED industry. It is crucial for the Indian LED segment to encourage local manufacturers to start in-house production of goods and materials in order to make our supply chain self-reliant,” Divyansh Gupta, managing director, Kundan Edifice Pvt Ltd, told the webinar.

LED lamps

Innovation is the key to growth in every segment including the lighting industry, and Messe Frankfurt India’s building technology portfolio which includes the country’s leading lighting fairs – Light India & LED Expo (Mumbai & Delhi editions) have played a key role in showcasing the transition from CFLs to LED, and now moving towards solar-LEDs, smart lighting and UV lighting innovations.

“As intelligent systems gradually gain the attention of modern consumers and advancements such as wireless, sensor-based and solar-based smart lighting, as well as enhanced technologies like Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) now coming up, this is the right time for sector players to strengthen their supply chains to meet the market demand,” Raj Manek added.

Even on a national scale, the rapid adoption of energy-efficient street lighting systems, development schemes and upcoming smart building projects initiated by the government offer inordinate opportunities to domestic manufacturers to produce complete LED products within India. The ‘Make in India’ initiative and recent call for ‘Atmanirbhar’ Bharat (Self-reliant India - ed) by prime minister Narendra Modi has brought a focus on local manufacturing potential in the country.

LED technology is crucial for many major sectors such as automotive, infrastructure, hospitality and healthcare and localising the LED supply chain will not only help in meeting festive demands but also likely to kindle a new confidence among domestic manufacturers.