|Shop lighting between emotion and efficiency
LED: The hot topic in the retail scene
Whether lighting is used to promote sales, as an emotional design medium or in shop construction; whether it is used as a corporate lighting concept or to produce energy-efficient,
sustainable lighting architecture, the lighting segment is amongst the fastest growing areas.
According to the recent study of the EHI Retail Institute, entitled "Energiemanagement im Handel" (Energy Management in Retail), shop lighting was among the top investment areas in 2011.
This is no surprise, because lighting generates the highest energy costs for retailers, and – in conjunction with inefficient lighting systems – it also drives up the costs for air
conditioning and cooling of the sales floors. In addition, almost two thirds of the surveyed retail companies reported energy cost increases in the past year, and they expect that in the
years to come these operation costs will rise even further into the two-digit area. Over the past years, many commercial enterprises invested heavily into new lighting concepts, mainly to
improve the presentation of merchandise. This led to – in part significant – increases in energy consumption, a trend which must now be reversed. This can be achieved through tailoring the
use of lighting to specific needs and also through the use of energy-saving fixtures and natural light.
Thanks to technological quantum leaps made in the last few years, the energy-saving LED light bulbs have "today achieved the technical
readiness to take over all lighting functions in the retail sector", emphasizes Martin Krautter, Marketing, Group Leader PR/Direct Marketing, at Erco Company. In response, manufacturers have
significantly expanded their product ranges. Because of the increased economic lifetime and the lower energy consumption, the retail trade is expecting the LED technology to generate
significant cost reductions.
According to the unanimous opinion of industry experts, digital lighting technology will revolutionise the lighting market. However, this does not at all signal the end for analogous
lighting technology – there is still major development potential when it comes to energy efficiency. The proof is brought forth by a new generation of top-quality light bulbs that is
expected to generate high light output at low energy consumption when used in connection with innovative illuminants, optimised light direction and electronic control gear.
Using efficient lighting and lowering the wattage enables commercial enterprises to lower their operational costs noticeably. However, only the overall concept including quality lighting
design, effective lighting technology, intelligent lighting control and efficient illuminants individually tailored to the corresponding sales floors will exploit all opportunities in
connection with economical and energy-efficient shop lighting. And this can happen without having to make concessions to quality or modern, emotionalising shop design and interesting
merchandise display. The trend amongst producers is moving towards the development of holistic solutions that are sustainable and offer commercial enterprises investment protection.
The increasing competitive pressure forces retailers to adapt their sales floors to new design trends and consumer needs in increasingly short intervals, in order to surprise and excite the
customers again and again. One third of the companies surveyed across industry sectors is already considering completely new store concepts after five years. Modern lighting design must be
forward-looking and able to anticipate the trend towards modular and adaptable furnishing and visual merchandising concepts. "The focus will be on flexible lighting solutions that can be
adapted accordingly to relocation or new sorting of goods, merchandise groups and product ranges. Even better if this can be done without tools," says Dr. Sandra Kossmann, Managing Director
of Bäro Company. Attractive staging of the sales floors using multimedia walls, interactive shop windows, changing emotional scenes, dramatic lighting effects that turn the sales floor into
a stage – these are the tasks of shop lighting.
Retailers may also expect innovations in the area of light management systems that ensure that the right light is used at the right time and the right place in the store in order to
optimally integrate natural light. The new technology also allows for completely new stylistic features of the bulbs. Minimalist design perfectly accentuates the advantages of LED
technology. "Smaller, more flexible, more durable," this is Bäro Company's answer to the question regarding new design trends in the lighting market. The company states that this also
corresponds to retailers' quest for resource protection, individualism and sustainability. Erco Company assumes that the design of individual light bulbs will recede "in favour of a
synaesthetic overall experience with staged lighting and a dynamically interpreted architecture." Light fixtures are increasingly becoming invisible sources of light. The trend is moving
towards indirect illumination that reduces uncomfortable glare, Ansorg Company states. However, manufacturers will also present new products in line with the contrary trend, Ansorg
continues. Light fixture design as a style and CI instrument. In this function, the fixtures take centre stage when it comes to shop design. Colour and shape provide a special atmosphere and
emotional accents or emphasise a company's corporate lighting concepts.