North American PCB Sales Growth Stays Strong, Order Growth Slows
IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced the March 2019 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Year-over-year growth in March was strong for sales but slipped into negative territory for orders, while the book-to-bill ratio retreated to parity at 1.00.
Total North American PCB shipments in March 2019 were up 19.1 percent compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date sales growth as of March was 16.4 percent. Compared to the preceding month, March shipments jumped 32.9 percent.
PCB bookings in March decreased 0.9 percent year-over-year, bringing year-to-date order growth down to a positive 2.4 percent. Bookings in March were up 10.1 percent from the previous month.
“Strong sales for the North American PCB industry in March, combined with lackluster order growth, brought the book-to-bill ratio down to 1.00, its lowest level in more than two years,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Year-over-year sales growth has outpaced order growth for the past 10 months, indicating the likelihood of slowing sales growth in the coming months.”
Note: The March 2018 and January 2019 ratios have been revised since their original publication due to updated data from statistical program participants.
Note: The March 2018, November 2018 and January 2019 growth rates have been revised since their original publication due to updated data from statistical program participants.
The first-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-May. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.