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North American PCB Order Growth Boosts Book-to-Bill Ratio

Sep 30, 2017

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for August 2017

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the August 2017 findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Strong year-on-year growth in orders drove the book-to-bill ratio up to 1.15 in August.

Total North American PCB shipments in August 2017 were down 0.6 percent compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 4.0 percent below the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, August shipments increased 3.1 percent.

PCB bookings in August increased 17.2 percent year-on-year, driving year-to-date order growth up to 4.0 percent above the same period last year. Bookings in August were up 3.6 percent compared to the previous month.

Strong growth in North American PCB orders in recent months, combined with negative growth in sales, drove the book-to-bill ratio in August to a 12-year high of 1.15,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Unusually fast growth in flexible circuit orders and growing demand from the military and aerospace market are two of the drivers. The ratio has been above parity for seven consecutive months,” she added, “indicating a possible recovery in sales by the end of this year.

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed August data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available 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, growth trends by company size tiers, 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 at www.ipc.org/market-research-reports.

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.


IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 4,200 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; Brussels, Belgium; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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