|IPC Association announced the January 2018 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. Both sales and orders were up year-over-year in January. Due to continued strong order growth in January, the book-to-bill ratio climbed to a 12-year high of 1.16.
Total North American PCB shipments in January 2018 were up 9.8 percent compared to the same month last year. Compared to the preceding month, January shipments decreased 8.5 percent.
PCB bookings in January grew 25.3 percent year-over-year. January bookings were down 13.9 percent compared to the previous month.
“Year-over-year sales growth for the North American PCB industry continued to climb in January and growth was positive for the fifth consecutive month,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. “Strong bookings growth also continued, pushing the book-to-bill ratio to its highest point since September 2005. This performance, capping 12 consecutive months of positive book-to-bill ratios, offers a strong indication of continued sales growth in the first half of 2018,” she added.
Detailed Data Available
IPC’s North American PCB Market Report, is now a quarterly publication. The next edition,containing detailed first-quarter 2018 data from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be available in early May. The 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 company size tiers, 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 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.