June 2014

Mixed Results for North American Electronics Seen in April

The North American electronics industry has been recovering gradually from a slowdown that began in December 2013. The three-month rolling averages depicted in the graph below show a modest upturn for PCB and EMS sales in April, while semiconductor sales continued to fall. U.S. new orders for electronic products held steady in April after recovering in March. U.S. new orders tend to lead sales growth by one month.

IPC's PCB book-to-bill ratio, which normally leads PCB sales by three to six months, strengthened during Q1 after a long period of ratios below parity (1.00).  The ratio reached positive territory at 1.01 in March and remained at that level in April. Ratios above parity indicate greater demand than supply, which may be a precursor of strengthening sales growth in the PCB industry. The current ratio suggests that the beginnings of a modest recovery may be seen by the end of Q2 2014.

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) $60     2012 IPC, World PCB Production Report for the Year 2012
Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) $419.5 2012 Electronic Trends Publications
Electronic Equipment (Final Assembly) $2,020 2013 Electronic Outlook

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