North American Switch Market Finishes 2015 Down 1% and Bookings down 3% Compared to 2014

Total reported sales for all switch category in North America for Q4 of 2015 were 11% below the previous quarter and 8% lower than the fourth quarter of 2014. Sales units for Q4 2015 came in 14% below units sold in Q3 2015 and 9% more than Q4 of 2014.

The total booking dollars reported for all switch category in North America for Q4 2015 ran 5% lower than the previous quarter and below Q4 2014 total bookings by 10%. The fourth quarter’s book-to-bill ratio for dollars was 1.037. Booking units in Q4 2015 were 3% greater than the Q2. The first quarter’s book-to-bill ratio for units was 0.966.

The fourth quarter versus the third showed total sales dollars down11% and units 14% lower. Dollars were down for all and units decreased for all keylock switches. Prices were up 4% in total driven by push button, slide, and toggle categories. In comparison to the fourth quarter of 2014, dollars were down in five of six of eight categories and 8% in total. Units were down for most categories but up in total by 9%. Pricing from a year ago was down in six of eight categories and in total by 15%. Year to date versus 2014 has dollars down 1% in total with gains in half the categories. All in, units increased 6%. The ASP lost 7% as all but two categories moved down.

Sales Growth by Switch Category

When compared to last quarter total booking dollars decreased by 5%. Units were down in four of eight categories but up in total by 3%. Booked prices fell 8% with decreases in all but push buttons. Booked dollars in Q4 against the same quarter of 2014 were down for most categories and in total by 10%. Units were also down for most categories but up 7% in total. Prices were lower for most of the categories and 16% overall. Bookings year to date versus 2014 were down in total dollars and units. Dollars are down 3% and units 1% off. Booking price slipped 2% with most categories down.

Bookings Growth by Switch Category

The graph below shows total quarterly indexed sales and bookings in dollars and units for the reported data since Q4 CY 2013. In Q4 of 2013 all measures fell. Sales dollars improved in Q1 of 2014 and have since remained flat until last quarter while units moved up and down but were near all-time highs in Q3 of last year. In Q1 of 2014 booked units moved lower and continued lower until the last three quarters.


Book-to-bill units generally have trended lower over the last two years but that may be changing. Book-to-bill dollars have oscillated above and below 1.0 over the last two years. The booking to selling price ratio has trended higher over the past two years.


Indexed booking prices general increased over the last two years to a peak in Q1 of 2015 and fell dramatically the last three quarters. Indexed selling prices improved until the start of last year and have generally declined the last four quarters and now sit near a switch tracks all-time low as shown in the second graph below.


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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