IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries has announced that the September 2018 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Year-over-year growth continued for industry sales and orders. The book-to-bill ratio for September retreated slightly to 1.04.
Total North American PCB shipments in September 2018 were up 9.6% compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 10.2% above the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, September shipments increased 11.1%.
PCB bookings in September were down 3.9% year-over-year. Year-to-date order growth was 9.2% above the same period last year. Bookings in September were down 4.4% from the previous month.
“The North American PCB industry sales growth trend continued for the 13th consecutive month, and the book-to-bill ratio remained above parity for the 20th straight month” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s Director of Market Research. “A negative year-over-year growth rate for PCB orders in September after 15 months of continuous order growth, however, might be the first sign of a slow-down. The book-to-bill ratio is still in positive territory, indicating continued sales growth for the rest of this year, but it has decreased steadily since hitting a 12-year high early in 2018.”
Detailed data available
The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed third-quarter 2018 data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available in November. 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 12 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 US 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.