The move by the Swedish company, one of the world’s largest furnishing retailers, is a huge endorsement of LED technology and its functionality.
Ikea says it will sell the LED bulbs at the lowest price on the market. Even with the lower price point, LEDs will still be more expensive than the traditional incandescent light bulbs. Ikea will have to convince consumers that LEDs will save them money in the long run despite the higher upfront costs.
And that could be a challenge, especially in the U.S. where only 27 percent of people know LED bulbs last 20 years, according to an Ikea survey conducted by Wakefield Research. The survey also found about 22 percent of Americans are currently using between 11 and 20 incandescent bulbs in their homes.
Ikea’s first target is its employees. The company said it recently gave LED lights to every one of its 130,000 Ikea employees.
LEDs have come a long way in recent years with an increasing number of companies choosing the technology when retrofitting their buildings. For instance, the 400 conventional lamps atop the Empire State Building were replaced with 1,200 LED fixtures, which are expected to slash annual energy costs by 75 percent. And a study that piloted 15 separate lighting schemes in 12 cities across the globe found that in some cases, LED technology accounted for an 85 percent reduction in energy costs.
Ikea, which also has an ambitious solar rooftop program, stopped selling incandescent lighting two years ago and well ahead of a European Union law that phased out sales of the traditional bulbs by September 1.