North American PCB Sales Growth Ends 2018 Up 8.7 Percent

IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the December 2018 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales growth bounced back in December and remained solid for the year. The book-to-bill ratio also strengthened in December and stands at 1.05. Total North American PCB shipments in December 2018 were up 7.7 percent compared to the same month last year. Shipment growth ended the year at 8.7 percent. Compared to the preceding month, December shipments increased 17.1 percent. PCB bookings in December were down 3.1 percent year-over-year but bookings ended 2018 at 5.7 percent above the previous year. Bookings in December were up 26.3 percent from the previous month.

“Despite slowing PCB sales growth in North America in recent months, the industry ended the year well ahead of 2017,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Although year-on-year PCB order growth was negative in December, order growth also remained positive for 2018. Despite declining orders and a related decline in the book-to-bill ratio,” Starr added, “the ratio bounced back in December. It has now been in positive territory for almost two years, which indicates a positive outlook for continued sales growth in the first half of 2019.”

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed fourth-quarter 2018 data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available in February 2019. 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.

About IPC

IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 4,900-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.