Strong Growth in Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Reduces Electricity Demand

Between 2001 and 2006, production of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in China—which accounts for roughly 85 percent of global output—tripled from 750 million to 2.4 billion units.1 (See Figure 1.) The total number of CFLs in use globally nearly doubled between 2001 and 2003 alone, growing from an esti­mated 1.8 billion to 3.5 billion units.2

Reliable global data on CFL use since 2003 do not exist, but sales growth in individual countries strongly indicates that total usage continues to increase at a fast pace. Between 2000 and 2004, for example, estimated sales in the United States grew 343 percent—from 21 million to 93 million—and by 2007 they reached 397 million.3 CFL sales in Western Europe grew 34 percent between 2000 and 2004, from 173 million to 232 million units, and in Eastern Europe they rose 143 percent, from 23 million to 56 million units.4 (See Figure 2 and Table 1.)

The lightbulb market share for CFLs varies widely among leading industrial nations. In the United States, CFLs accounted for more than 20 percent of sales in 2007, a strong growth from less than 1 percent before 2001.5 But other wealthy nations have shown much higher CFL use rates for quite some time, including 80 percent of households in Japan and 50 percent in Germany (in 1996 in both cases).6 Many developing countries have shown strong CFL market share in recent years as well: 14 percent of sales in China in 2003, for instance, and 17 percent in Brazil in 2002.7

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