Engineering 101

North American PCB industry growth continues upward

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IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries has announced the March 2018 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Industry shipments and orders continued to grow at a brisk pace in March. The book-to-bill ratio retreated from its peak but remained strong at 1.13.

Total North American PCB shipments in March 2018 were up 10.4% compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 9.6% above the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, March shipments increased 15.0%.

PCB bookings in March increased 13.8% year-over-year. Year-to-date order growth was 16.8% above the same period last year. Bookings in March were up 8.5% compared to the previous month.

“The North American PCB industry’s robust recovery continued in March,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research.

“Year-over-year growth has been consistently positive for sales in the last seven months and for bookings in the last 10 months. The outlook for this year is also encouraging. This is due to a strong order growth in recent months and a book-to-bill ratio that has been above parity (1.0) for more than a year.”

Detailed Data Available

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

The quarterly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders. It includes separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, growth trends by 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.

A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply. That 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 important to consider changes in both bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a 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.

Source IPC

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