SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

Revised Forecast Reflects Stalled Growth

Oct 22, 2013

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for August 2013

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced the August findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program, which included a revised 2013 forecast of nearly flat sales growth for 2013. Sales and order growth both stalled in August after signs of upward momentum in recent months.

Sales and Orders Remain Slow

Total North American PCB shipments decreased 1.6 percent in August 2013 from August 2012, and bookings decreased 9.1 percent year over year. Year to date, PCB industry shipments remained below last year’s levels at -3.9 percent and bookings were down 1.0 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments in August were up 5.3 percent while bookings were down 8.1 percent. Shipments exceeded bookings in August and the PCB book-to-bill ratio dropped to parity at 1.00.

Until August, year-on-year sales growth had been improving steadily in recent months, bolstered by solid growth in orders since the beginning of 2013.  Orders fell below last year’s levels in June and August this year, bringing down the book-to-bill ratio, which had been positive for the previous seven months.

Just as the North American PCB industry began showing signs of renewed growth, it was hit by some negative market developments, most notably reductions in U.S. military spending,” said IPC’s director of market research Sharon Starr. “This was especially evident in sales of rigid flexible circuits,” she explained. “Still, the long run of positive book-to-bill ratios we have just seen indicates good fundamental demand that will support sales growth later in the year."

Detailed Data Available

This month’s edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed August data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, was published today. 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 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 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 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.

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 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 $2.0 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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