The tipping point has been reached with the decision by Philips Lumileds to sign distribution deals with the big four online distributors – Digi-Key, Farnell, Mouser and RS.
Lumileds had previously focused on a more specialist approach, most notably its long-standing relationship with Future’s specialist lighting business.
The first indication that the LED supplier’s view of the market was changing came earlier this year when it signed a deal with Silica.
And it followed through with the signing of the four online power-houses.
Rival suppliers Osram and Cree are there already.
All LED suppliers are preparing their sales channels for a lighting market which is already wide-ranging, probably unpredictable and soon to become very high volume.
Philips has been manufacturing LED light bulbs for the consumer market longer than anyone else.
Cree has recently announced it will also supply LED lightbulbs.
For traditional electronic component suppliers the LED lighting market has been a big learning experience.
The customers are different, the applications areas are different and the potential volumes are enormous.