North American PCB Sales Improving Despite Weaker Orders

Jan 13, 2014

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for November 2013.

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced the November findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Year-on-year sales growth strengthened in November but, due to weak orders, the book-to-bill ratio declined further to 0.91.

Performance over Last Year is Mixed

Total North American PCB shipments increased 4.0 percent in November 2013 from November 2012. Year-to-date shipment growth is still negative compared to the same period in 2012, but is improving and reached -2.3 percent in November. 

North American PCB bookings fell 6.7 percent year over year, which pushed year-to-date order growth back into negative territory at -0.4 percent.

PCB shipments and bookings in November were both lower than in the prior month, reflecting normal seasonal patterns. Compared to October 2013, PCB shipments in November were down 6.3 percent and bookings were down 15.5 percent.

While sales continued to strengthen in the North American PCB industry compared to last year, orders declined,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “This disparity between sales and order growth pushed the book-to-bill ratio to its lowest point since March 2009,” she added, “indicating a slow and possibly bumpy recovery going into 2014.”

Detailed Data Available

The November edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed November data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be 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-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 six 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 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 3,400 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.;Washington, D.C.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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