IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries has announced the April findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Sales and orders were both down slightly, compared to last year. The book-to-bill ratio remained positive but decreased to 1.02.
Total North American PCB shipments decreased 1.0 percent in April 2015 from April 2014, and year-to-date shipment growth remained at -1.3%. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were down 12.1 percent.
PCB bookings decreased by 6.3 percent compared to April 2014, reducing the year-to-date order growth rate to -0.7 percent. Orders decreased 15.1 percent in April compared to the previous month.
“North American PCB sales continued slightly below last year’s level, and orders, which rallied in the fourth quarter of 2014 and remained strong in recent months, also fell below last year’s level in April,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “This caused a reduction in the book-to-bill ratio for April, but it is still in positive territory, which is an indicator of probable sales growth later this year,” she added.
Detailed Data Available
The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed April data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available within the next 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-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 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.