Despite the gloomy economy, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Rosslyn, Va., recently reported that its index for incandescent lamps registered a reading of 59.4 for the second quarter of 2009, which essentially is unchanged compared to the first three months of this year. Nevertheless, the index decreased 11.85% on a year-over-year basis. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) showed a similar result, although declining by a milder rate of 3.95% on a year-over-year basis. Concurrently, the CFL index increased 3.8% versus the first quarter of 2009, climbing to 222.6 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Recent performance could indicate the indices might be at or near bottom given the relatively flat to moderate increases in growth.

CFLs regained market share and then some compared to incandescent lamps during the second quarter, accounting for a record 26.6% share of residential-use lamp sales. A shift toward more expensive CFLs, on a first cost basis, is indicative of a possible loosening of consumer purse strings as the overall economy is expected to turn around during the second half of the year.