© ZVEI PCB | March 12, 2020
PCB market: sales and orders decreased in 2019
The year 2019 was marked by falling sales and fewer incoming orders for printed circuit board manufacturers in the DACH region.
Main reasons include the uncertainties caused by Brexit, the crisis in the automotive industry and the trade conflict between the United States and China as well as the one between the United States and Europe. Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019 decreased by 11.8 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year, writes the ZVEI association PCB and Electronic Systems. For the year 2019 as a whole, sales fell by 11.1 per cent compared to 2018. However, the two previous years were characterised by shortages in copper foil supplies (in 2017) and in component (in 2018); primarily in Asia. As a result, orders had shifted back to Europe in 2017 and 2018. This was also noticeable in the order intake. Order volume in Q4 fell by almost seven per cent sequentially, and the value of new orders decreased by 11.4 per cent for the year 2019 as a whole. The automotive sector, in particular, played a role here. The sector was unable to realise the long-term order and production volume with regard to the diesel affair and the switch to alternative drives. The PCB manufacturers do not expect any significant improvement in 2020 due to continued risks. As a result, the order intake was already 'streamlined' during 2019, but particularly noticeable in the fourth quarter. Although around five per cent more vehicles were registered in Germany in 2019, the export market, which accounts for around 80 per cent of car sales and is, therefore, more important, fell by 13 per cent. Industrial electronics, especially mechanical engineering, also suffered from this development, the press release noted. The book-to-bill ratio for the last quarter of 2019 stood at 1.09. Despite the significant drop in sales, the number of employees only fell by 2.2 per cent in the reporting quarter.