IPC has announced the July 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 July held steady at 1.05. Total North American PCB shipments in July 2018 were up 10.8% compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 10.5% above the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, July shipments decreased 19.1%.
PCB bookings in July increased 4.9% year-over-year. Year-to-date order growth was 11.7% above the same period last year. Bookings in July were down 12.3% from the previous month.
“Business growth continued in July for the North American PCB industry although at a slightly slower pace than in the previous month,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research.
“July was the 11th consecutive month of sales growth and the 14th month of continuous order growth. The month-to-month decreases in sales and orders in July follows a typical seasonal pattern in which business is strongest in the last month of the quarter and falls off in the first month of the next quarter, probably due to sales activity. The book-to-bill ratio in July remained above parity (1.0) for the 18th consecutive month, which is a positive indicator of continued growth for the remainder of this year.”
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.
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.