Twice a year, the lighting buyers from around the world descend to the Dallas Trade Mart to purchase new products. Its a cross between fashion and hardware. And guess what?
Back in the 1980s, lighting manufacturers started outsourcing their production and designs to China. 20 plus years later, half the brands look the same as the manufacturing is centrally sourced. Now add an economic downturn, and there are real problems in this industry.
Retailers also deserve part of the blame. Lack of training (does anyone know anything in this industry) and investment in display and infrastructure have doomed the lighting store as a destination.
Together, their industry lobbying group (ALA) has lobbied against banning the incandescent bulb and have failed to aggressively promote energy efficient products like LED.
Still, open enough clams and you will find some pearls. Out of 300 plus displays, there are maybe 15 relevant product lines. A few of tomorrows pearls...