September 5, 2013. IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries has announced the July findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales and order growth both continued trending upward.
Total North American PCB shipments decreased 1.5% in July 2013 from July 2012, and bookings increased 10.2% year over year. Year to date, PCB industry shipments were down 4.2% and bookings were up 0.1%. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments in July were down 13.7% and bookings were down 3.2%. Bookings exceeded shipments in July and the PCB book-to-bill ratio strengthened to 1.06.
Although still not quite in positive territory, year-on-year sales growth has been improving steadily over the past three months, bolstered by solid growth in orders since the beginning of 2013. Most of the improvements in July’s results are due to the strong performance of the rigid PCB segment.
“Month-to-month growth is typically negative in the first month of the quarter due to seasonal trends,” said IPC’s director of market research Sharon Starr. “Year-on-year growth is the best indicator of industry performance, and these growth rates in July continue to be encouraging,” she explained. “Rigid PCB year-on-year sales growth in July reached positive territory for the first time in more than two years. Orders in both rigid and flex segments were strong, resulting in a slight uptick in the PCB book-to-bill ratio.”
This month’s edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed July data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be published this 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-subscriptions.
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.
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.