North American PCB Book-to-Bill Ratio Turns Positive

IPC Releases PCB Industry Results for March 2014

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., USA, April 30, 2014IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® announced today the Marchfindings from its monthly North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program.Sales were up in March andthe book-to-bill ratio strengthened, returning to positive territory.

Positive Sales Growth Returns

Total North American PCB shipments increased4.8 percent in March 2014 from March 2013, strengthening year-to-date shipment growth to -0.8 percent. Compared to the previous month, PCB shipments jumped18.9 percent.

PCB bookings continued negative at -5.5 percent year over year.  Year-to-date order growth, while still negative, improved to-6.9 percent. Order growth climbed 20.9 percentover the previous month.

The North American PCB book-to-bill ratio strengthened in Marchfor the fourth straight month, reaching1.01, just above parity.

“The book-to-bill ratio’s climb and positive year-on-year sales growth in March areencouraging signs of a recovery ahead,”said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. She cautioned, however, that “the book-to-bill ratio has just reached positive territory after six consecutive months below 1.00.  Economic indicators are positive for 2014, but the PCB industry’s recovery is developing slowly.”

Detailed Data Available

The April edition of IPC’s North American PCB Market Report,containing detailed Marchdata from IPC’s PCB Statistical Program, will be published 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

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.

About IPC

IPC ( is a global industry association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 3,400 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 $2.0 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.;Washington, D.C.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore, India; Bangkok, Thailand; and Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Beijing, China.


Sharon Starr,
IPC Director of Market Research
+1 847-597-2817
Email Contact

Piyamart Holmgren,
IPC Market Research Coordinator
+1 847-597-2868
Email Contact

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