Total North American PCB shipments in February 2016 came in 8.9 percent above the same month last year, bringing the year-to-date growth rate up to 3.6 percent. Compared to the preceding month, February shipments were up 10.1 percent.
PCB bookings increased 2.7 percent year-on-year. This growth rate was not quite high enough to cancel out the preceding month’s negative year-on-year order growth, but it brought year-to-date order growth up to -0.5 percent. Orders in February 2016 were down 2.3 percent from the previous month.
“The February rebound in sales was the best news this month, following flat growth in 2015 and a slump in January,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Also, the decrease in the book-to-bill ratio is not bad news, because it was driven by strong sales growth, and it remained in positive territory, which is an indicator for continued sales growth in 2016,” she added.
Detailed Data Available
The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed February data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available by the end of 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 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 (www.IPC.org) 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.