North American PCB Business Growth Accelerates in March


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IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the March 2016 findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales growth accelerated in March and order growth rebounded. Bookings outpaced shipments, but the book-to-bill ratio held steady at 1.02.

Total North American PCB shipments in March 2016 came in at 10.3 percent above the same month last year, bringing the year-to-date growth rate up to 6.1 percent for the first quarter. Compared to the preceding month, March shipments were up 18.6 percent.

PCB bookings in March increased 10.5 percent year-on-year, boosting year-to-date bookings growth for the first quarter to 3.5 percent. Orders in March 2016 were up 28.1 percent from the previous month.

“March was a good month for the North American PCB industry, with strong growth in both sales and orders,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “This is a welcome change from no growth in 2015,” she added, “and the first quarter’s positive book-to-bill ratios support an expectation of continued growth in the second quarter.”

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Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed March data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available by the end of next week. The monthly report presents detailed findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including separate rigid and flex book-to-bill ratios, military and medical market growth, demand for prototypes, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. More information about this report can be found here.

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 six 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.

About IPC

IPC is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 3,700 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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