Engineering 101

North American PCB Industry Sales up 3.7% in March

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IPC has announced the March 2020 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. The book-to-bill ratio stands at 1.15.

Total North American PCB shipments in March 2020 were up 3.7% compared to the same month last year. Compared to the preceding month, March shipments rose 31.6%.

PCB bookings in March increased 10.1% year-over-year. Bookings in March increased 8.7% from the previous month.

“COVID-19 related disallocations in the global supply chain continue to drive North American PCB orders and shipments. March 2020 saw a near historic month-over-month rise in shipments as North American PCB manufacturers worked to deliver crucial components for equipment like ventilators into the medical supply chain,” said Shawn DuBravac, IPC’s Chief Economist. “March sales and orders are the highest the industry has seen since April 2017 and April 2020 shipments are poised to reach levels not seen since 2006.”

Companies that participate in IPC’s North American PCB Statistical Program have access to 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.

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 by the end of each month.

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