MUNICH, Germany In 2005, the global printed circuit board market has grown by 5,7 percent to a volume of $ 38,5 billion. For 2006, the party will continue, estimates Zentralverband Elektrotechnik und Elektronikindustrie (ZVEI), a German industry association that covers the electronics industry. For the year ahead, the association expects a growth of more than 6 percent. The bad news is that this growth will not be achieved in Europe.
With 58,3 percent of total sales, in 2005 the lion's share of the world market was achieved in Japan and south-east Asia, with the latter growing fastest – the market there grew by 12,9 percent, ZVEI says.
In Europe, the market growth was much slower. In 2005 the PCB sales volume was $ 5,65 billion, up $ 100 million or 1,8 percent from 2005. For the current year, the ZVEI experts forecast a growth of 3,5 percent.
According to the industry association, the enterprises see an enormous pressure on pricing, caused by climbing prices for energy and raw materials. Besides oil, especially metals like gold, aluminum, nickel, tin and copper became much more expensive. The price tag for copper, for instance, climbed by a hefty 59 percent.
Price pressure and other factors led to a significant decline in the number of companies producing PCBs in Europe. Their number shrunk by 11 percent to 379 companies. As demand presently is seen to recover, this capacity cutback will lead to longer lead times, warns ZVEI.
The largest customers industries in Europe were industry electronics with a share of 27,5 percent in 2005. Second largest customer sector was communications with 26,1 percent , followed by automotive (21,1 percent) and consumer electronics (6,9 percent).
More than every third PCB in European market was manufactured in Germany with a share of 36,2 percent by value. Here, automotive applications scored especially strong with 33,6 percent while industry electronics contributed only 23,9 percent and communications technology 18,1 percent.
Nevertheless, the market stagnated in 2005 at a value of 1,345 billion Euro ($ 1,73 billion). In 2006, the ZVEI expects a total growth of 2,2 pecent for the German market. All segments will contribute to this growth except consumer electronics.