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IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries announced today the March findings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Although sales remained sluggish, bookings continued ahead of last year and the book-to-bill ratio held steady at 1.05.
Total North American PCB shipments decreased 0.9 percent in March 2015 from March 2014, bringing year-to-date shipment growth to -1.3 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments were up 20.1 percent.
PCB bookings increased by 1.6 percent compared to March 2014, improving the year-to-date order growth rate to 1.2 percent. Orders increased 16.9 percent in March compared to the previous month.
“The North American PCB business continues to experience stagnant sales compared to last year, but bookings are slightly ahead of last year and are strengthening,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Strong growth in March sales and orders over the prior month reflects normal seasonal patterns,” she added. “The book-to-bill ratio has been positive for the past six months, which is a positive indicator for sales growth in the second and third quarters of 2015.”
Detailed Data Available
The next edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, containing detailed March data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available later this 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.
IPC is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 3,600 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $2 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Washington, D.C.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore and New Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.