IPC Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the May 2019 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales and order growth in May remained positive, but the book-to-bill ratio dipped below parity to 0.99.
Total North American PCB shipments in May 2019 were up 5.6% compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date sales growth as of May was 12.3%. Compared to the preceding month, May shipments increased 2.5%.
PCB bookings in May increased 5.6% year-over-year, bringing year-to-date order growth to 4.3%. Bookings in May were up 0.5% from the previous month.
“Although sales and order growth continued in May for the North American PCB industry, slowing order growth rates pushed the book-to-bill ratio below parity,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research.” This was the first time since January 2017 that the industry registered a book-to-bill ratio below parity (1.00). “Recent ratios hovering around parity indicate continued but slower growth in the coming months.” she added.
The second-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-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.
Interpreting the PCB Sales 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.