When it comes to retail, Walmart is the king. As of 2012, it is the third largest public company, the largest private employer, and the largest retailer in the world. As a result, when Walmart makes a decision, it has an impact on every other retail store across the country.
When it comes to lighting, Walmart has made a big decision. After careful review, the company has decided to fully commit to LED lighting for all its stores. This move should completely reshape the market for LED lighting. How will this affect your business? Let’s take a look.
Walmart’s Commitment to LED Lights for Retail Stores
When it comes to LED light fixtures, Walmart is going all in. At GE’s annual LED & Energy Efficient Lighting Trends for Retail Conference, Walmart announced that in the near future, it would be switching to 100% LED lighting in all 5366 of its stores. Plans are nice, but what has the company actually done to reach this goal?
Well, this past November Walmart opened its first store that used 100% LED lighting in Wichita, Kansas. While other new openings have not used only LED light fixtures, new stores are increasingly relying on LED lighting for their lighting designs. Walmart has also developed plans to add LED light fixtures for the parking lots of 225 sites in the upcoming year.
Why the Switch? LED Lights Offer Many Lighting Solutions
Walmart decided to make the move to LED light fixtures because they offer a number of significant advantages. First of all, by using LED lighting, Walmart stands to benefit from sizable energy savings. Each store that uses energy efficient lighting is expected to reduce its energy costs by 40% per year. The estimated energy savings just from using LED light fixtures in parking lots is expected to be 125,000 kWh, enough to power 11 households for a year.
Walmart also expects to see big savings in maintenance costs. The average LED light fixture lasts about 6 years longer than conventional lighting, and this is expected to cut down maintenance costs by 30% per year.
Lastly, as such a major retailer, Walmart has a huge impact on the environment. With LED lighting, Walmart wants to be a greener company by reducing its energy use and purchase of replacement light fixtures.
What Does this Mean for You? Energy Efficient Lighting at a Fraction of the Cost
The biggest knock against LED light fixtures is that they are significantly more expensive than traditional options. While in the long-run you save money with these fixtures, the initial price tag scares away many retailers; a LED lamp currently costs about 10 times as much as an incandescent lamp.
The sheer size of Walmart’s future demand for energy efficient lighting should put significant downward pressure on the price of LED light fixtures. LED manufacturers are going to be fiercely competing for the giant Walmart account and will do everything they can to reduce costs in the hopes of getting this sale. Other retailers can just sit back and watch the price of LED light fixtures go down.
Another benefit of Walmart entering the LED market is that it will bring in a valuable amount of new data on LEDs. LED lighting is still a relatively new technology and there are still some questions about the long-term performance and environmental impact of these light fixtures. Walmart’s massive usage going forward should prove that LEDs are truly the future of lighting.
Walmart didn’t get to where it is today by making poor business decisions. If they see enormous potential in LED lighting, it might be a good time for other retailers to start looking into this technology as well.
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