#2006 / Printed Circuit Industry in 2019

The year is flying by; first quarter is close to completion, and 2019 is a distant memory. Analyzing business trends and forecasting is difficult enough without adding a wild card into the equation, specifically the coronavirus. For this reason, I decided to provide a snapshot for the industry prior to coronavirus, and look at trends moving forward.
A slowdown for consumer electronics began during December 2018. Global shipments for semiconductors and printed circuit production in Taiwan declined sharply and continued over the next few months. The industry noticed a rebound during the second quarter of 2019, but declined again during the last quarter of the year.
Printed Circuits shipments in Taiwan grew by 1.48% in 2019. Rigid boards increased by 1.99%, and flex circuits increased by 0.15% for the year; a relatively small increase compared to the previous year. Volume declined during the last quarter of 2019, and industry forecasts showed a continued slowdown for 2020. The hardest hit segment is flexible circuits, but the rigid board segment is also down. The primary applications for flex circuits are mobile devices that include smart phones and tablet PCs. Sales for both these products were down during the last couple of years. The data from Taiwanese circuit board manufacturers indicates another decline, and volume for the next few months is expected to fall.
Printed Circuits shipments in Japan declined 7.0% in 2019 compared with the previous year. This is the first negative growth since 2016. Module substrates grew negligibly by 1.1% in 2019, rigid circuit boards decreased by 6.5%, and build-up boards the core products of the industry grew by 0.1%. The primary applications for build-up boards are used by domestic manufacturers for cellular phones, so its contribution for the industry can be significant.
Total shipments for flexible circuits in Japan shrunk by 26.9% during 2019 compared to the previous year. That is a significant loss, more than one fourth of the market disappeared in one year. The majority of the demand comes from mobile devices by foreign manufacturers. We can speculate that a few Japanese flex manufacturers lost some their customers to their competitors in Taiwan and Korea.
North America had a relatively strong year in 2019; revenue increased by 7.8% during 2019. This is much larger than their peers in other industrialized countries, and industry booking indicates more positive growth during the year (this was prior to the coronavirus outbreak). Unfortunately, January shipments from the industry in 2020 posted a decline, and forecasts are pessimistic for the rest of the year.
The global electronics and circuit board industries are reeling from the coronavirus ripples. Hopefully this will pass soon, and we can all get back to business as usual.

Dominique K. Numakura, dnumakura@dknresearch.com
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com

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Headlines of the week
(Please contact haverhill@dknreseach.com for further information and news.)

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