Leading electronics industry association, IPC, has released the April 2020 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. The book-to-bill ratio stands at 1.19. According to the new report, the total North American PCB shipments in April 2020 were up 4.3 percent compared to the same month last year. Compared to the preceding month, April shipments fell 18.2 percent. PCB bookings in April increased 19.9 percent year-over-year, but fell 7.3 percent from the previous month.
According to IPC chief economist, Shawn DuBravac, North American electronics manufacturers continue to serve surging demand for PCBs and other components in the shadow of COVID-19. Bookings in April were up 19.9 percent, the strongest year-over-year growth in orders in over two years. IPC now expects elevated shipments in May as a result of strong bookings in April and a lingering backlog of unfilled ordered from prior months.
Detailed Data Available
Companies that participate in IPC’s North American PCB Statistical Program have access to 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.
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.