North American PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio Increases to 1.04

Mar 02, 2016

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for January 2016

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the January 2016 findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales and orders slumped in January, but orders continued to outpace sales, bringing the book-to-bill ratio up to 1.04.

Total North American PCB shipments declined 1.6 percent in January 2016 compared to January 2015. Compared to December 2015, January 2015 shipments were down 19.2 percent. 

PCB bookings fell 3.4 percent below the level of January 2015. Orders in January 2016 were down 14.3 percent from the previous month.

Historically, January is a slow month for the PCB industry,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Although sales and orders in January were slightly below last year’s levels, orders continued to outpace sales, which brought the book-to-bill ratio back into positive territory. The ratio’s brief decline into negative territory near the end of last year is consistent with the current weak start to the new year,” she added, “but the return to positive ratios indicates the likelihood that slow growth will resume in 2016.

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed January data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available the first week in March. 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 might not be significant unless a trend of more than three consecutive months is apparent. It is also important to consider changes in both 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 normally available in 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 3,700 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.; Atlanta, Ga.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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