Slow Growth Continues for the North American PCB Industry

Jun 12, 2014

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for April 2014.

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced the April findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Year-on-year sales growth was up slightly in April and the book-to-bill ratio remained positive at 1.01.

Sales and Orders Slow but Improving

Total North American PCB shipments increased 1.6 percent in April 2014 from April 2013, which moved year-to-date shipment growth to -0.2 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments declined 12.0 percent.

PCB bookings strengthened but continued negative at -1.5 percent year over year. Year-to-date order growth, while still negative, improved to -5.6 percent. Order growth fell 8.1 percent from the previous month.

The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio held steady in April at 1.01.

With year-to-date growth rates improving but still negative, and a book-to-bill ratio just barely in positive territory for the second month, the North American PCB industry appears to be moving very slowly toward a modest recovery this year,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “The negative month-to-month growth rates in April reflect normal seasonal patterns,” she added.

Detailed Data Available

The May edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed April data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be published early 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, 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

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 ( 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 Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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