North American PCB industry growth cycle continues
The August 2018 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program has been announced by IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries. The findings show that year-over-year growth continued for industry sales and orders, and the book-to-bill ratio for August held steady at 1.05.
Total North American PCB shipments in August 2018 were up 8.7% compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 10.3% above the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, August shipments increased 6.5%.
PCB bookings in August increased 6.8% year-over-year. Year-to-date order growth was 11.0% above the same period last year. Bookings in August were up 9.4 percent from the previous month.
Sharon Starr, IPC’s Director of Market Research, stated: “North American PCB industry sales and orders continued to grow in August compared to the previous month and the same period last year. August was the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth and the 15th month of continuous order growth. The book-to-bill ratio in August remained above parity (1.0) for the 19th consecutive month, which is a positive indicator of continued growth for the rest 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.
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.