IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the December findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. PCB sales in 2013 ended the year at -1.9 percent compared to 2012. The book-to-bill ratio in December improved slightly, but remains below parity at 0.92.
Slow Growth Continues
Total North American PCB shipments increased 2.2 percent in December 2013 from December 2012. Year-to-date shipment growth, at -1.9 percent, is still negative compared to the same period in 2012, but has been steadily improving. December sales were up 6.6 percent over the prior month.
North American PCB bookings fell again in December to -8.0 percent year over year, which reduced the year’s order growth to -1.1 percent below 2012. December bookings jumped 17.7 percent over the prior month.
“North American PCB sales in December continued their slow recovery, while orders have been volatile,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “In the current cycle, the book-to-bill ratio appears to have hit its low point in November and is now beginning to climb again,” she added.
Detailed Data Available
The December edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed December data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be published by February 5. 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.
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