With new energy-efficient styles lining store shelves, holiday light sales have remained steady in metro Detroit.
Associates from stores like Target and Rite Aid in Westland as well as English Gardens in Royal Oak have reported that sales are as good or even a little better than in recent years.
Many people are finding that going out and buying new lights is more cost-effective than stringing up the same outdated, energy-sapping models they’ve been using for years.
“Holiday lights are more energy efficient than they used to be,” said Scott Simons, DTE Energy Spokesperson. “Holiday lighting doesn’t add a whole lot (of cost), but for people looking for less of an impact on their energy bills, the newer, more efficient lights are better.”
Solar-powered Christmas lights have been a hot item at Target while battery-powered lights have been popular at Rite Aid.
But even the popular new LED (light-emitting diode) lights are a big upgrade from the old models that many people stash in their basements and reuse with designs on saving money.
“There’s been a huge shift to LED lights, more and more people are buying those because they’re energy-saving and they have long, lasting, vibrant colors,” said Dean Darin, general manager of the English Gardens store in Royal Oak.
Darin helps decide which Christmas lights and how many to buy for all seven of English Gardens’ metro Detroit stores.
According to Darin, who researches light efficiency to determine the best values for customers, a 700-light LED set saves over 90% in electricity costs compared to a similar 700-light set of classic miniature bulbs. LED light colors generally don’t fade and boast lifetimes of up to 200,000 hours. They first hit shelves in 2005 at English Gardens and finally caught on big last year, when the Royal Oak store sold out. This year, Darin ordered extra LED lights for customers and the results have been good so far.
While most people decide to make the switch to LED lights because of their brilliant colors, the energy and money savings are a welcome side benefit.
“We have Christmas trees in front of the store with sapphire blue, white, and purple lights in and people drive by, see them, and come in and ask ‘What are those lights?’” said Darin.
“We show them and then they buy them. Light sales are good because it’s kind of a new technology but it’s just now catching on and driving the industry.”