For printed circuit board manufacturers in the DACH region, the 2018 sales trend followed on from the already very good financial year 2017. This was reported by the ZVEI trade association PCB and Electronic Systems.
Although sales in the fourth quarter were down 4.9 percent on the previous year, the full year 2018 closed with a growth of 1.4 percent. Incoming orders in the fourth quarter of 2018 were 4.8 percent below the figure for the previous year. Overall, the industry recorded a decline of 6.1 percent last year.
The past year was characterized both by a decline in bookings, which the industry recorded in the first and second quarters, and by massive corrections in the third quarter. The reasons for this were the shortage of key components and the decline in demand in the automotive industry, which amounted to more than 16 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year. These bottlenecks are expected to continue during 2019 and will have an impact on order activity.
The trend indicator book-to-bill ratio, the quotient of incoming orders and sales, reached a value of 1.06 in the fourth quarter of 2018. The year as a whole came to a value of 0.98. The number of employees fell by 1.1 percent compared to the previous third quarter, which is not unusual at the end of the year. Compared to the previous year, the number of employees rose by 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter. The number of employees increased by 5.2 per cent in 2018 as a whole.
ZVEI Zentralverband Elektrotechnik und Elektronikindustrie e.V.