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IPC's Revised 2013 PCB Forecast Lowered But Still Positive

Aug 07, 2013

Trends in North American PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio

Trends in North American PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the June findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Based on the market's slow response to order growth this year, IPC has revised downward its 2013 PCB sales forecast.

June Results are Mixed

Total North American PCB shipments decreased 3.4 percent in June 2013 from June 2012, and bookings decreased 6.1 percent year over year. Year to date, PCB industry shipments were down 4.7 percent and bookings were down 1.3 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments in June were up by 12.0 percent, but bookings were down 3.6 percent. Shipments outpaced bookings in June for the first time in seven months, causing the PCB book-to-bill ratio to slip to 1.05, which is still a positive result.

Flexible circuit sales continued their year-on-year growth in June, but flex bookings growth remained below last year’s levels.  Rigid PCB sales and order both underperformed last year’s levels, but the negative margin has been improving in recent months.

Until this June, monthly PCB orders outpaced sales every month since January, which has produced positive book-to-bill ratios for the past six months,” said Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research.  “A turnaround in sales growth this year still seems likely, but is not happening as quickly as the leading indicators suggested. Based on the market’s unusually slow response to order growth, and the industry slowdown worldwide, we are revising our outlook for 2013 North American PCB sales growth,” she explained. “We expect to see sales strengthening in the second half of this year, resulting in 2013 sales growth of less than 1 percent.”

Detailed Data Available

IPC’s revised 2013 forecasts for the North American PCB industry will be published this week in the August edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report. The monthly report includes more 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 at www.ipc.org/market-research-subscriptions.

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.

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.


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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