Printed Circuit Industry Results for 2013 Print E-mail
Written by Dominique K. Numakura   
Friday, 13 December 2013 16:58

It’s hard to believe that December has arrived, and in just a few weeks we will be welcoming in 2014! Third-quarter market data for the PWB industry is now available, so we can review market trends for the past three quarters and project sales for 2014.

Volume and sales vary between regions; let’s start with Japan.

Japan had a very bad start this year. Revenue for January and February were dismal compared with the same time last year, and 2012 was almost as bad as the year of the world wide recession in 2008 (one of the worst years for the PWB industry).  The year started off so badly that some of us feared a total collapse for the Japanese PWB industry. Fortunately, business improved slowly and shipments for September were almost equal to shipments during September 2012.  Unfortunately, year to date shipments are still down 20% compared with the same period of time last year.

If we break down each segment, rigid boards performed the best – they were “only” down 15% year over year, while flexible and module circuits declined more than 25%. Since no significant spike in sales was reported for the last two months, we can forecast that total shipments will come in between $4.6 billion and $4.8 billion. This will be the first year in the 21st century that sales are below 5 billion dollars.   This is due to a decline in consumer electronic sales that include cellular phones, personal computers, flat TVs and digital cameras. Unfortunately, forecasts from the Japanese consumer electronics industry point towards more of the same in 2014.

Sales from PWB manufacturers in North America and Europe varied month to month during 2013.  It looks like shipments will post between a 2 and 5% decline.  The bulk of their business comes from the industrial, medical and aerospace industries.  We are predicting that business for our North American and European peers will remain flat in 2014.

Taiwan is the global leader for the PWB industry. The lion’s share of business comes from personal computers. Business has been shaky since the fourth quarter of 2012 due to slumping sales from the PC market. However, Taiwanese PWB manufacturers found other avenues of business from smart phones and tablet PCs – enough to give them a significant rebound in sales for the last two quarters. They remain conservative with forth-quarter forecasts and predict that annual shipments will be slightly below the previous year.

Taiwan may not be the leader in the region for 2013. The region includes China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Taiwanese and Japanese manufacturers outsourced a lot of business to China and other Asian countries. The majority of production is completed in Korea. The regional leaders in the PWB industry may come in this order: China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Once all the data are disseminated for 2013, we will communicate the results in a follow-up newsletter.

DKN Research Newsletter #1332, December 8th, 2013 (English Edition) (

Dominique K. Numakura, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Headlines of the week (Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for further information.)

1. Toppan Forms developed a new silver printing process with very low firing temperature (80 degree C) using silver salt ink. Conductor resistance: 6 micro ohm*cm.
2. Panasonic announced the termination of ALIVH and ISB printed circuit business.
3. Marubeni unveiled a new conductive fiber coated with carbon nanotube. It will make light and flexible conductive clothes.
4. Tanaka Metal co-developed a new fine line printing process using sub-micron gold powder. The conductors are bondable at 200 degree C and heat resistant at 300 degree C.
5. Denso developed a new greenhouse control system as one of agriculture business. It will optimize the energy efficiency controlling the condition of the greenhouses.
6. Sekisui Chemical developed a new film type lithium ion battery with large capacity introducing coating process that makes the productivity ten times higher.
7. Mitsubishi Material developed a new thick copper DBA (Direct Bonded Aluminum) substrate for the next generation power modules.
8. Sekisui Chemical successfully built a new type of DSSC base photovoltaic cell, available at room temperature process.
9. E Ink started the volume production of “Fina”, a new type of the thin & light e-paper built on an extremely thin glass substrate.
10. Digitimes forecasts 213 million units for global shipment of LCD TV IN 2014, 4.6% up from the previous year. The FIFA World Cup will push demand.





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