4 Modern Retail Lighting Design Trends

4 Modern Retail Lighting Design Trends

By Megan Porter

It may be a surprise to the online-minded, but the research is clear: modern shoppers prefer to peruse and purchase inside an actual store. It’s true. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’s annual consumer survey, nearly 40% of consumers make purchases inside a physical store at least once a week, compared to 27% who do so online. 1

If you’re thinking, “What’s the rub? Just how do retailers keep their shoppers coming back for more?” the answer is easy: Retail owners adapt. Changes in the retail landscape are constant, and digitized experiences are no different than fashion trends. Successful brick-and-mortar stores are responding to the digital age with innovative hi-tech lighting signatures that keep shoppers coming back, reduce lighting costs and provide sustainable energy solutions.

Check out these four energy efficient ideas for retail stores that rethink lighting.1

1) Transparent LED displays.2 Better than the ads that run alongside your online store, transparent light-emitting diode displays enhance your in-store shopping experience without charging per click. Fashion chain Primark uses them to serve as in-store ads while adding a feeling of futuristic otherworldliness. The transparent displays combine with panoramic sound to boost the atmosphere and enhance the mood. What’s more, they provide a sustainable energy solution as opposed to print ads that demand the dyes of paper. All fathomed with store signature in mind, lighting makes shopping at Primark an event that “pushes the limits of immersion in retail,” according to collaborator and Technomedia Solutions president John Miceli.

2) QD-Enhanced Displays.3 Retailers aren’t just rethinking new ways to experience lighting, they are also coming up with smarter ways to employ traditional practices while lowering energy bills. Stores have been backlighting displays for years, but in a quantum dot display, a backlight is produced by conventional light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and filtered through crystals that can produce a specific color. This method provides access to an impressive color range, and the process is more energy efficient than liquid crystal displays. Up next: QD LEDs that use the quantum dots not just as a filter but as a light source itself. In the long term, QD LEDs have the potential to make a huge splash in the lighting market.

3) Sensor Integration and Interactivity.4 When all else fails, bring the screens into the store. Interactive elements and screens with touch sensors are increasingly commonplace, with companies like Adidas and Asics leading the way to showcase athletic technologies and designs.5,6 These high-impact visuals must be highlighted and lit in their own right and present new lighting considerations for traditional retailers. While the specifics vary per display, LEDs remain a popular and smart option for lighting, since they reduce lighting costs and energy consumption.

4) Smart Lighting Systems. Controllability is key for adapting with changing markets, and smart lighting systems make even minute adjustments possible. These systems are used in retail to automate, analyze and control lighting, which can in turn reduce lighting costs. Advanced systems enable light sources and controls to work in tandem by connecting each light source, sensor and switch to a network. Software operates the network and utilizes functions like scheduling, task tuning, occupancy sensing and daylight harvesting to optimize lighting and save energy. Combinations of measures are shown to save, on average, more than 50% compared with systems using only manual controls.7

Looking to learn more about how lighting can upgrade your brick-and-mortar store? Download PG&E’s "Lighting Controls and Occupancy Sensors Guide."


  1. Business News Daily
  2. Retail Design World
  3. IHS Technology
  4. Facility Source
  5. Retail Design World
  6. Retail Design World
  7. CTLC Case Study, Watermelon Music.

4 Modern Retail Lighting Design Trends
  • SMB Blog Author
    Megan Porter
    Senior Program Marketing Manager at PG&E, is a recognized leader in solutions marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. Megan uses her proven and practical expertise to bring energy efficiency education to businesses in every industry. In this vital role, she develops and oversees highly successful initiatives that result in the adoption of more efficient long-term energy management behaviors.

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