North American PCB Sales and Orders Decreased in November


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IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the November 2018 findings from its North American printed circuit board (PCB) statistical program. Year-over-year sales and order growth turned negative in November, and the book-to-bill ratio declined to 1.01.

Total North American PCB shipments in November 2018 were down 3.0% compared to the same month last year. This year to date, shipments are 8.6% above the same period last year. Compared to the preceding month, November shipments decreased 9.9%.

PCB bookings in November were down 12.5% year-over-year. Year-to-date order growth was 6.6% above the same period last year. Bookings in November were down 16.6% from the previous month.

“North American PCB industry sales growth in November fell into negative territory for the first time in 16 months, and orders also decreased sharply compared to the same month last year,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “The decrease in orders brought the PCB book-to-bill ratio down to its lowest level in almost two years. It is still in positive territory, but just barely. The 22-month run of positive ratios may be nearing its end, but it still offers an indication of potential sales growth for a few more months at least.”

Detailed Data Available

The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed fourth-quarter 2018 data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available in February 2019. The quarterly 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 product types and company size tiers, demand for prototypes, sales growth to military and medical markets, and other timely data. This report is available free to current participants in IPC’s PCB Statistical Program and by subscription to others. PCB companies that are IPC members doing business in North America are invited to contact marketresearch@ipc.org for information about participating.   

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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 twelve 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.

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