The UK & Ireland authorised distributor association, afdec, registered an unexpected decline in billings in April ‘19 that halted the industry’s growth . Bookings increased by 4.2% in Q1’19 compared to the same period in 2018 but billings showed a (1.3%) decline. afdec (Association of Franchised Distributors of Electronic Components) hoped the business to achieve an unprecedented fifteen quarters of sustained growth by the close of 2019, which didn’t happen.
Total monthly billings (net sales Invoiced less credits) in April ‘19 declined by (16%) compared on the previous month but thanks to continued growth in the semiconductor sector, remained flat compared to the same month in 2018.
Overall bookings declined by (27%) in April ‘19 compared to the previous month and also showed an (18%) decline on the same month 2018. The book-to-bill (B2B) ratio in April ‘19 declined by 14 points to 0.92:1, with the polynomial trend line suggesting a continuing ‘flattening’ as we progress into Q2’19. The sales by month “three month moving average” for all electronic components is also suggesting low growth into the second quarter of 2019, which remains broadly in-line with ecsn/afdec member forecasts.
“This is a disappointing result and well below the Q1 ‘19 billings growth of 5%-to-11% forecasted by our members in December last year”, said Adam Fletcher, Chairman of the Electronic Components Supply Network (ecsn).
He puts much of the decline down to the fact that customers have been consuming the buffer inventory they stockpiled in response to the Brexit delay, and to tough market conditions : “For the same reason ecsn’s afdec members have also been juggling their inventory in an attempt to hold it in-line with actual customer demand. But, as the Brexit date remains fluid, all organisations will have to retain buffer inventory for a longer than they expected, which will add significantly to their costs, until the extra inventory is finally consumed.”