February 2016

North American Electronics Business Growth Slows

The three-month rolling averages of North American printed circuit board (PCB) and semiconductor sales declined in December 2015, as did U.S. new orders for electronic equipment, after strengthening during the autumn months. The rolling average of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) sales in December remained flat.

U.S. new orders for electronic products tend to lead sales by one to two months. Another leading indicator is IPC’s PCB book-to-bill ratio, which normally leads sales by three to six months. The December 2015 ratio returned to parity at 1.00 after a one-month dip into negative territory in November. This followed a 13-month run of positive ratios. This trend suggests slowing and nearly flat growth in early 2016. Ratios above parity (1.00) indicate greater demand than supply, which may be a precursor of positive sales growth for electronics manufacturers.

All data cited in this report are based on rolling averages of the past three months, which irons 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) $60.2  2014 IPC, World PCB Production Report for the Year 2014
Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) $436.0 2014 New Venture Research, The Worldwide EMS Market, 2015 edition
Electronic Equipment (Final Assembly) $2,049 2014 Custer Consulting Group and Electronic Outlook Corp.

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