Saturday, April 20, 2024

Is the Outlook for the PCB Industry in 2024 Good?

The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) industry experienced notable challenges in 2023, marked by oversupply and inventory management issues, particularly in the substrates segment. However, with strategic adjustments, the industry is poised for a promising turnaround. This article will discuss the tribulations of 2023 and project the optimistic outlook for 2024 and beyond, offering insights crucial for electronics engineers, PCB designers, and professionals within the sector.

p/s: images credit to PRISMARK

Challenges for PCB Industry in 2023

In 2023, the PCB industry grappled with significant hurdles, primarily driven by an oversupply in the market. This glut was particularly severe in the substrates segment, leading to downward pressure on prices and profitability. Several factors contributed to this situation:

Post-Pandemic Demand Fluctuation: The demand for PCBs saw erratic shifts as the world adjusted post-pandemic, with initial surges followed by unexpected declines.

Supply Chain Disruptions: Continued disruptions in global supply chains exacerbated production schedules and inventory management, leading to accumulations of unsold stock.

Technological Shifts: Rapid advancements in technology required PCBs to adapt to higher specifications, leaving older designs in oversupply.

The accumulation of excess inventory forced suppliers to undertake aggressive destocking measures, impacting financial performance across the industry.

Progress in Printed Circuit Board Inventory Management

Despite these challenges, by the end of 2023, PCB suppliers had made significant strides in clearing their excess inventories. The concerted effort to align production with actual demand has been pivotal. Key strategies included:

Enhanced Forecasting Techniques: Adoption of more sophisticated demand forecasting tools helped suppliers better align production with market needs.

Flexible Manufacturing Approaches: Implementing more agile manufacturing processes allowed for quicker adaptation to changing market conditions.

Strategic Stock Reductions: Suppliers intensified promotions and discounts to accelerate the offloading of excess stock, particularly in saturated segments like substrates.

These initiatives suggest a robust framework for inventory normalization, anticipated to stabilize fully by the second half of 2024.

PCB Outlook for 2024 and Beyond

Looking ahead, the trajectory for the PCB industry appears promising. As suppliers approach a normalized inventory state, several positive developments are expected to drive growth:

Market Demand Recovery: With global economies stabilizing, demand for PCBs is projected to increase, supported by growth in sectors like consumer electronics, automotive, and healthcare.

Innovation and Technological Integration: Continuous innovation, particularly in areas like high-speed and flexible PCBs, will likely open new applications and markets.

Sustainability Focus: Increasing emphasis on sustainability will drive the development of eco-friendly PCB manufacturing processes and materials, potentially opening up new customer bases.

Furthermore, PCB strategic partnerships and expansions in emerging markets are expected to provide additional growth avenues for Advanced PCB manufacturers.


Despite the challenges faced in 2023, the PCB industry is on a clear path to recovery. The strategies implemented by PCB suppliers to manage and reduce inventory levels are proving effective. With a healthier supply chain expected by the second half of 2024, the industry is well-positioned to capitalize on upcoming opportunities. For electronics engineers and PCB designers, staying abreast of these trends will be crucial in navigating the evolving landscape and leveraging the growth potential of the PCB market.

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