Total reported sales for all switch types in North America for Q4 of 2014 were 1% less than the previous quarter and 4% above the fourth quarter of 2013. Sales units for Q4 2014 ran 4% below units sold in Q3 2014 and 4% less than Q4 of 2013.

The total booking dollars reported for all switch types in North America for Q4 2014 came in 7% higher than the previous quarter and above Q4 2013’s by 5%. The first quarter’s book-to-bill ratio for dollars was 1.058. Booking units in Q4 were up 4% from Q3. The first quarter’s book-to-bill ratio for units was 0.981.

The fourth quarter versus the third showed total sales dollars inched down 1% and units 4% lower. This was driven decreases in snap action, tact and toggle switches. Half of eight switch types realized lower unit sales. Prices were up 3% in total with only three types improving. The comparison to the fourth quarter of 2013 yielded dollars up in four of eight types and 4% in total. Units were down for half the types and lower in total by 4%. Pricing from a year ago was up in four types and in total by 7%. Year to date versus a year ago has dollars lower by 1% in total with losses in all but three types. All in, units were unchanged with half the types up. The ASP lost 1% in total on mixed category results. 

Sales Growth By Switch Type

  Q4 2014 Versus Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Versus Q4 2013 CY 2014 Versus. CY 2013
Category Dollars Units ASP Dollars Units ASP Dollars Units ASP
DIP 5.4% 10.7% -4.7% 54.2% 93.1% -20.1 35.5% 62.4% -16.6%
Keylock 2.2% -12.7 17.0 % -9.7 -21.5% 15.1% -17.5% -19.1% 2.0%
Push Button -2.9% 10.3% -12.0% 17.9% 14.5% 2.9% 4.7% -9.5% 15.6%
Rocker 2.0% 4.7% -2.6% -1.9% -5.8% 4.2% 0.9% -1.0% 1.8%
Slide -5.8% -7.7% 2.1% -0.3% 1.1% -1.3% -2.9% 3.7% -6.3%
Snap Action -4.0% 7.5% -10.7% 1.2% -19.6% 25.8% -1.6% -18.9% 21.3%
Tact -12.2% -10.8% -1.5% -19.0% -12.4% -7.5% -13.0% 1.4% -14.2%
Toggle -4.1% -9.1% 5.4% 0.8% 3.7% -2.8% -7.0% 4.3% -10.8%
Total -0.8% -3.8% 3.1% 4.2% -3.9% 8.4% -1.5% -0.1% -1.4%

When compared to last quarter total booking dollars and units increased. Dollars and units were up in six of eight types. Booked prices were down in most types up 3% in total. Booked dollars in Q4 against the same quarter of 2013 were up for over half the types and in total by 5%. Units were up for the majority of the types and 10% higher in total. Prices were up for four of the eight types and increased 17%. Bookings for 2014 versus 2013 were down in total dollars and units with prices up. Dollars are down 2% with losses in less than half of the types. Units were off by 9% and in three of the types. Booking price rose 7% with over half the types down. 

Bookings Growth By Switch Type

  Q4 2014 Versus Q3 2014 Q4 2014 Versus Q4 2013 CY 2014 Versus CY 2013
Category Dollars Units ABP Dollars Units ABP Dollars Units ABP
DIP 14.8% 22.3% -6.2% 51.8% 108% -27.0% 35.7% 68.8% -19.6%
Keylock -21.4% 10.8% -29.1 % -33.5% 9.6% -39.3% -20.3% -13.9% -7.4%
Push Button 24.7% 25.4% -0.6% 26.6% 19.9% 5.6% 6.0% 7.0% -0.9%
Rocker 5.1% 14.7% -8.3% 16.6% 7.6% 8.4% 10.3% 3.8% 6.2%
Slide 34.2% 34.5% -0.3% 10.0% 20.6% -8.8% 1.1% 13.9% -11.2%
Snap Action 10.2% 9.4% 0.8% -7.7% -18.4% 13.1% -13.1% -22.2% 11.8%
Tact 9.6% -8.1% 19.2% -13.8% -28.5% 20.5% -16.4% -17.0% 0.7%
Toggle -11.2% -5.4% -6.1% 6.2% 38.0% -23.0% 7.8% 22.7% -12.1%
Total 6.8% 3.7% 3.0% 4.9% 10.3% 16.8% -2.2% -8.9% 7.3%

The graph below shows total quarterly indexed sales and bookings in dollars and units for the reported data since Q4 CY 2012. All measures set two-year highs Q2 and Q3 0f 2013 and had been improving over the previous three quarters. In Q3 of 2013, sales measures continued to improve as booking measures eased down the next three quarters and improved in Q2 of 2014. In Q4 of last year booking dollars were near a 2 year high. Sales measures dropped in Q4 of 2013 but rebounded in Q1 of 2014 only to slip the balance of the year.

chart-1.jpg

Book-to-bill units have generally trended higher until Q3 of 2014 when the trend turned lower. Book-to-bill dollars have oscillated above and below 1.0 over the last two years. The booking to selling price ratio had been trending lower until reversing in Q3 of 2013 and is now above 1.0 for the last four quarters. 

chart-2.jpg

Indexed booking prices peaked in 2012 and trended lower until moving higher the last five quarters. Indexed selling prices reached an apex Q3 of 2012 then moved mostly lower and may now be heading higher. 

chart-3.jpg

Michael Schwert


Michael Schwert

Michael is the founder of Cumulus, Inc. He has more than 30 years of marketing and sales as well as design experience in the electronic and electrical component industry. Prior to founding Cumulus, he was Director of Marketing for Cherry Electrical Products and held other marketing management positions with Panduit, BRK Electronics, and Ideal Industries.

Cumulus provides market information and consulting services for the global electronic components industry. The company offers three publications: Switch Tracks, a quarterly report with market information on component switches; the Relay Report, a quarterly report with market information on component relays; and Market Notes, a monthly report on sales, bookings, and business conditions in the relay and switch market. Cumulus also manages projects that help leading global suppliers in the relay and switch industry to develop new products and reach new markets.

Schwert provides MarketEYE with monthly articles that include timely and accurate market information for the electromechanical component sector of the electronics industry.

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