N.A. PCB Sales Growth Continues in October but at a Slower Pace


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IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the October 2018 findings from its North American printed circuit board (PCB) statistical program. Year-over-year sales and order growth were positive in October, and the book-to-bill ratio held steady at 1.04.

Total North American PCB shipments in October 2018 were up 5.3% compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 9.7% above the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, October shipments decreased 11.9%.

PCB bookings in October were up 2.2% year-over-year. Year-to-date order growth was 8.5% above the same period last year. Bookings in October were up 0.4% from the previous month. “The North American PCB industry sales growth trend continued for the 14th consecutive month and order growth rebounded, but the downward trend in order growth rates seen in recent months is now reflected in slower sales growth” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “We have seen a long period of growth. Book-to-bill ratios have been above parity for 21 straight months, which indicates the likelihood of continued sales growth at least for the rest of this year.”

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed fourth-quarter 2018 data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available in February 2019. 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 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.

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