Why LED Bulbs Are Stealing the Spotlight

By Laura Phillips
February 17, 2016
Walmart Associate Stocks LED Lights on Shelf

This year, you’ll notice a change in the lighting aisle: we’re phasing out CFL bulbs and shifting to LEDs.

The switch to LEDs directly links to one of Walmart’s sustainability goals: sell products that sustain people and the environment. Our priority is always to provide our customers with the best shopping experience possible while minimizing our impact on the environment. With that in mind, we have worked closely with our suppliers to make LED bulbs more accessible and affordable for our customers, so you don’t have to choose between a product’s sustainability and affordability.

GE has embraced this commitment, too, and recently announced that they will discontinue manufacturing CFL bulbs in the U.S., and focus consumer lighting efforts on the LED bulb. This February, GE created an advertising campaign to share how they’re “breaking up” with CFL because they fell in love with LED. Walmart has grown fond of LED too.

LED prices have come down dramatically over the past five years to be comparable with CFL bulbs. In addition, LEDs outperform CFL bulbs when it comes to features such as instant brightness, light quality and the ability to dim.

As LED bulbs grow more accessible, more customers are making the switch.

In turn, customers are enjoying more energy-efficient and longer-lasting bulbs – and, as a result, are saving money. 

We’re excited to provide this option for our customers, because we know from our own experience how LEDs can impact the bottom line. Walmart is one of the early adopters of LED in retail. We pioneered the use of LED signage in 2003, worked with GE to rollout LED freezer case lighting in 2005, and began installing LED parking lot lights in 2008.

Our freezer case lighting alone has reduced energy consumption by 70%, and LED has become the industry standard across the grocery industry today. LEDs have become the standard in Walmart facilities around the world, as well. For example:

  • In 2009, we retrofitted our Puerto Rico and Central America store parking lots with LED lighting. To date, Walmart has converted parking lot lighting at 350 stores in Central America to LED, and LED parking lot lights are now part of our store prototypes in nearly all global markets.
  • In 2011, we opened a Neighborhood Market in Wichita, Kansas, and a store in Acapulco, Mexico, with 100% LED sales floor lighting.
  • In 2013, we opened the first all-LED lit store in South Euclid, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland, serving as a model and pilot for future 100% LED-lit stores.
  • All-LED GE ceiling lighting fixture installations kicked off in April 2014 at Asda, Walmart’s business in the U.K.

Our use of energy efficient technology and LED lighting throughout our operations and our supply chain results in lower operational costs. All of these savings go back to you, our customers, and enable Walmart to offer the everyday low prices that you expect.

We’ll continue to bring new products into stores to help customers realize savings in their homes, as well. We believe a business should strive for not just the lowest prices, but the lowest true cost for all, because low true costs —savings in both money and environmental impact – benefit everyone.

Editor’s note: Laura Phillips recently discussed this same topic in an interview with GE Reports, which you can read here.