North America sales growth for printed circuit boards (PCBs), electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and semiconductors experienced a gradual softening in the first quarter of 2015 after strengthening in the fourth quarter of 2014. U.S. new orders for electronics products, however, rebounded strongly in Q1 (reflected by the three-month rolling average in March) after trended gradually downward in Q4. U.S. new orders for electronic products tend to lead sales by one to two months.
IPC's PCB book-to-bill ratio, which normally leads PCB sales by three to six months, has been in positive territory for the past six months and held steady at 1.05 in March. 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 irons out some of the volatility in monthly data to show clearer trends.