IPC announced today the December findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. PCB sales and bookings ended 2014 about even with 2013, but positive book-to-bill ratios in the fourth quarter signal sales growth in 2015.
Total North American PCB shipments increased 3.4 percent in December 2014 from December 2013, bringing year-to-date shipment growth to -0.8 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were up 6.4 percent.
PCB bookings increased by 7.9 percent compared to December 2013, improving the year-to-date order growth rate to 0.6 percent. Orders grew 13.4 percent in December compared to the previous month.
The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio strengthened to 1.07 in December.
“PCB business in North America was virtually flat in 2014 compared to the previous year,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Sales ended the year less than one percentage point below 2013, while orders finished the year just 0.6 percent above 2013. Strong orders in the fourth quarter have kept the book-to-bill ratio solidly in positive territory,” she added, “which bodes well for sales growth in 2015.”
Detailed Data Available
The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed December data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available the week of February 2, 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 USA 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.