IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® has announced the November findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Strong year-on-year order growth kept the PCB book-to-bill ratio high, while sales remained slightly below last year.
Total North American PCB shipments decreased 3.4% in November 2014 from November 2013, bringing year-to-date shipment growth to -1.2%. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were down 5.0%.
PCB bookings increased by 12.4% compared to November 2013, improving the year-to-date order growth rate to -0.1%. Order growth declined 25.5% in November compared to the previous month when orders were unusually strong.
The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio edged up to 1.06 in November.
“Although PCB sales in North American continued below last year’s level in November, orders again came in above last year,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Strong orders in the fourth quarter have driven the book-to-bill ratio into positive territory, which offers hope that year-on-year PCB sales growth will turn positive in 2015,” she added.
Detailed Data Available
The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed November data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available the week of January 5, 2015. 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 here.
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 U.S. and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month. Statistics for the current month are available in the last week of the following month.