SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

North American PCB Industry Returns to Positive Growth

Sep 28, 2019

IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the August 2019 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales and order growth rebounded in August and the book-to-bill ratio strengthened to 1.02.

Total North American PCB shipments in August 2019 were up 0.6 percent compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date sales growth as of August remained positive at 7.4 percent. Compared to the preceding month, August shipments increased 11.4 percent.

PCB bookings in August increased 7.6 percent year-over-year, pulling year-to-date order growth up to 1.9 percent. Bookings in August were up 19.8 percent from the previous month.

“After a lack-luster summer for the North American PCB industry, the August results brought welcome news,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Sales and order growth have both returned to positive territory and orders outpaced sales, which brought the book-to-bill ratio back to the positive range after a three-month slump. Recent book-to-bill ratios indicate the probability of flattening sales growth but with some hope for positive growth rates in the next two quarters.”

Detailed Data Available

The third-quarter 2019 edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be published by mid-November. The quarterly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, growth trends by product types and company size tiers, demand for prototypes, sales growth to military and medical markets, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. PCB companies that are IPC members doing business in North America are invited to contact marketresearch@ipc.org for information about participating. More information about this report can be found at www.ipc.org/market-research-reports.

Interpreting the Data

The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to twelve months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse.

Year-on-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth. Month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they reflect seasonal effects and short-term volatility. Because bookings tend to be more volatile than shipments, changes in the book-to-bill ratios from month to month might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are normally available in the last week of the following month.

IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 5,400-member company sites which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Stockholm, Sweden; Brussels, Belgium; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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