February 2015

North American Electronics Sales Stalled at Year End but 2015 Outlook is Positive

As of December, sales growth was flat in the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) segment of the North American electronics industry, but slight declines were seen in bare printed circuit board (PCB) and semiconductor sales, and in U.S. new orders for electronics products. Semiconductor sales seem to have plateaued after a strong run-up in the second half of 2014. U.S. new orders for electronic products tend to lead sales by about one month.

IPC's PCB book-to-bill ratio, which normally leads PCB sales by three to six months, continued to strengthen reaching 1.07 in December. The ratios were positive throughout the fourth quarter of 2014 after hovering around parity (1.00) during most months of the first three quarters. Ratios above parity indicate greater demand than supply, which may be a precursor of strengthening sales growth in the PCB industry in 2015.

All data cited in this report are based on rolling averages of the past three months, which smooths out some of the volatility in monthly data to show clearer trends.

Current Industry Trends

Note on the graph:  All indices are based on the same baseline of the average month in 2000=100, and reflect a three-month rolling average.

Sources: IPC statistical programs for the EMS and PCB industries; SIA for semiconductor data; U.S. Census Bureau for U.S. new orders for computer and electronic products.

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Market Research Reports

World Market Size Estimates

  Billions of U.S. Dollars For Year Source
Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) $59.4    2013 IPC, World PCB Production Report for the Year 2013
Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) $436.7 2013 Electronic Trend Publications
Electronic Equipment (Final Assembly) $2,020 2013 Electronic Outlook

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