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North American PCB Business Weakens but Book-to-Bill Ratio Remains Positive

Jul 05, 2017

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for May 2017

IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the May 2017 findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. PCB sales and orders were both down compared to last year. Weaker orders caused the PCB book-to-bill ratio to retreat but it remained positive at 1.05.

Total North American PCB shipments in May 2017 were down 3.1 percent compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 4.3 percent below the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, May shipments decreased 26.7 percent.

PCB bookings in May decreased 7.3 percent year-on-year, pushing year-to-date order growth back into negative territory at 1.3 percent below the same period last year. Bookings in May were down 33.6 percent compared to the previous month.

May was a slow month for the North American PCB industry as both sales and orders were below last year’s levels,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Although weak orders pulled the book-to-bill ratio down from April’s 20-month peak, the good news is that the ratio remains above parity (1.00) for the fourth consecutive month, which is a positive indicator for strengthening sales in the second half of the 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 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, growth trends by company size tiers, 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 4,200 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; Brussels, Belgium; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.

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