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IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for February 2013

Apr 01, 2013

Trends in the Book-to-Bill Ratio for PCBs (including Rigid PCBs and Flexible Circuits) in North America

Trends in the Book-to-Bill Ratio for PCBs (including Rigid PCBs and Flexible Circuits) in North America

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the February findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.

PCB Industry Growth Rates and Book-to-Bill Ratio Announced

Total North American PCB shipments were down 10.2 percent in February 2013 from February 2012, and bookings decreased 9.2 percent year over year. Year to date, PCB industry shipments were down 5.7 percent and bookings were down 6.7 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments in February decreased 6.5 percent, but bookings increased 1.1 percent. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American PCB industry continued to strengthen in February, reaching 1.06.

Sales are still sluggish in the North American PCB industry, but the book-to-bill ratio strengthened in February for the third straight month,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. “When orders exceed sales over several months, this is an encouraging sign for future sales growth.

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.

The Role of Domestic Production

IPC’s monthly survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from U.S. and Canadian facilities, which provide indicators of regional demand. These numbers do not measure U.S. and Canadian PCB production. To track regional production trends, IPC asks survey participants for the percent of their reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the USA or Canada). In February 2013, 85 percent of total PCB shipments reported by survey participants were domestically produced. These numbers are significantly affected by the mix of companies in IPC’s survey sample, which change slightly in January, but are kept constant through the remainder of the year.

Interpreting the Data

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 may reflect cyclical 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 may not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in bookings and shipments to understand what is driving changes in the book-to-bill ratio.

The information in IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics is 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 near the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are not available until the last week of the following month.

More detailed monthly findings on rigid PCB and flexible circuit sales and orders, including military and medical market growth, total market size and forecasts, are published monthly in IPC’s North American PCB Market Report. 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-subscriptions.


IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 3,300 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 $2.17 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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