IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced the PCB industry’s April 2019 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Year-over-year growth in April was positive for sales and orders, and the book-to-bill ratio strengthened to 1.02.
Total North American PCB shipments in April 2019 were up 6.6 %, compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date sales growth as of April was 14.0 %. Compared to the preceding month, April shipments decreased 23.1 %. PCB bookings in April increased 9.4 % year-over-year, bringing year-to-date order growth up to 4.0 %. Bookings in April were down 14.0 % from the previous month.
“A return to solid year-over-year order growth for the North American PCB industry in April moved the book-to-bill ratio from parity (1.00) to 1.02,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “The ratio has been at or above parity for the last 28 months, which is an unusually long stretch for this leading indicator. Recent ratios indicate continued but slower growth in the coming months.” She added, “April’s negative month-to-month growth rates are not a cause for concern, as they reflect normal seasonal patterns.”
Detailed data available
The second-quarter 2019 edition of North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be published by mid-August. 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.
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.
The company’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. The company publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month.