14579 Thu, 05/29/2008 - 3:40pm
By Nancy Meyer
Leave it to Wal-Mart to transform a market.
By setting a goal to sell 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs in 2007, and then exceeding it, the mega-retailer helped catapult the overall retail market and market share of CFLs.
Sales of Energy Star-rated CFLs nearly doubled from 2006 to 2007, to a total of approximately 290 million units, according to the Energy Star program.
It’s estimated that Energy Star-qualified CFLs account for three-fourths of the total number of CFLs sold. Total CFL sales were estimated at roughly 194 million units in 2006 and about 387 million units in 2007, several sources stated.
Overall market share has increased, as well. CFLs now account for approximately 20 percent of the light bulb market in the United States, up from about 11 percent in 2006. This compares with a market share consistently under 5 percent in the early part of the decade, according to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Energy Star retail partners, such as Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costco, Menards, Ace Hardware and Sam’s Club, have played an important role in educating consumers about the importance of saving energy and the value of these products,” the agencies stated earlier this year.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which charts the growth of CFLs in a quarterly sales index, said that although shipments of incandescent bulbs have declined steadily since 2004, the index showed the largest annual decline to date, dropping 18.6 percent in calendar year 2007. Conversely, NEMA’s index for CFL shipments grew by 33 percent in the first quarter of 2008, compared with the same period last year.