IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the October findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales and order growth strengthened in October, but the book-to-bill ratio declined to 0.94.
Performance over Last Year Improves
Total North American PCB shipments increased 3.6 percent in October 2013 from October 2012. Year-to-date shipment growth is still negative compared to the same period in 2012, but is improving and reached -2.9 percent in October.
North American PCB bookings increased 7.0 percent year over year, an improvement that brought year-to-date growth into positive territory at 0.1 percent.
PCB shipments and bookings in October were both lower than in the prior month, reflecting normal seasonal patterns. Compared to September 2013, PCB shipments in October were down 6.6 percent and bookings were down 4.0 percent.
“Although both sales and order growth are trending up compared to last year, sales have outpaced orders in the past three months, causing the book-to-bill ratio to dip,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Year-on-year sales growth has been improving for the past six consecutive months and finally turned positive in October,” she added. “While a recovery in the second half of 2013 was anticipated, it has been slower than expected.”
Detailed Data Available
The October edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed October data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be published next Monday, December 2. 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 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.