IPC recently announced the December 2020 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. The book-to-bill ratio stands at 1.05. Total North American PCB shipments in December 2020 were up 4.5% compared to the same month last year. Compared to the preceding month, December shipments rose 9.8%. PCB bookings in December rose 9.2% year-over-year and increased 9.1% from the previous month.
“PCB orders and shipments ended 2020 on a positive note. Order flow outpaced shipments for the second consecutive month. For the year, orders were up 4.5 percent while shipments increased 2.4 percent,” said Shawn DuBravac, IPC’s chief economist. “Recent reports of spot semiconductor shortages might curtail PCB orders in the near-term, but demand continues to look solid.”
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 12 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 U.S. and Canada. Additional details are available at www.ipc.org.