Growth Slows for the North American PCB Industry

Jul 01, 2014

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for May 2014

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced the May findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales growth was flat and orders declined in May, and the book-to-bill ratio slipped below parity.

Flat Sales and Declining Orders Reported in May

Total North American PCB shipments increased just 0.1 percent in May 2014 from May 2013, which moved year-to-date shipment growth to -0.1 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments declined 0.3 percent.

PCB bookings fell by 18.0 percent year over year in May, pushing year-to-date order growth down to -8.1 percent. Order growth fell 14.3 percent from the previous month.

The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio dropped below parity to 0.98.

While sales growth is slowing, declining orders pushed the book-to-bill ratio below parity after just two months of positive ratios,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “This setback in the industry’s recovery is likely to be short-lived, given the positive economic outlook for North America this year,” she added.

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed May data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available in July. 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 3,500 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 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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