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Why the Electronic Components Market is Struggling to Recover: Insights from ECIA’s May Survey

The Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA) conducts monthly and quarterly surveys to measure the sales sentiment and trends of electronic components in North America. The latest survey results for May 2023 show a sharp decline in sales sentiment compared to April expectations, indicating a prolonged market recovery period.

Overall Sales Sentiment Index

The overall sales sentiment index is a weighted average of the responses from manufacturers, distributors and manufacturer representatives for different product categories and end markets. The index ranges from 0 to 200, with 100 being the neutral point. A higher index indicates a more positive sales outlook, while a lower index indicates a more negative outlook.

According to ECIA’s chief analyst Dale Ford, the overall sales sentiment index for May 2023 collapsed to 72.2 points, compared to 99.1 points expected in April. This is the third consecutive month of declining results, and a dramatic reversal from the previous expectation of achieving a positive outlook over 100 in May. The June outlook only improves slightly to 78.6 points.

The table below shows the overall sales sentiment index for different product categories and end markets for May 2023 and June 2023 outlook:

Product CategoryMay 2023June 2023
Semiconductors67.775.8
Passive Components69.477.9
Electro-Mechanical / Connectors79.582.2
End MarketMay 2023June 2023
Avionics/Military/Space113.6114.5
Automotive100.4101.2
Automotive Electronics76.880.6
Industrial72.977.7
Medical71.977
Consumer7076
Communications6975

Sales Sentiment by Channel

The sales sentiment of manufacturers compared to distributors and manufacturer representatives reveals very different views of the market. Distributors and manufacturer representatives reported extremely bearish inputs with overall index scores of 71 and 60 respectively. At the same time, the overall manufacturer average registered at 91 with three component categories scoring at or above 100.

One possible explanation for these divergent views could be that manufacturers are seeing stronger performance in their direct business while inventory balancing in the distribution channel is still in process.

Quarterly Sales Trends

The quarterly sales trends reflect the expectations for quarter-to-quarter growth in electronic component sales. The results reported in the quarterly survey indicate that a return to meaningful quarter-to-quarter growth will have to wait until Q4 at the earliest.

The table below shows the percentage of respondents expecting better, worse or flat sales for Q2 and Q3 of 2023:

QuarterBetter (%)Worse (%)Flat (%)
Q2293239
Q3322840

Conclusion

The May ECST survey results reported by ECIA show a significant drop in sales sentiment for electronic components in North America, indicating an extended market recovery period with a turnaround in year-over-year growth coming at the end of 2023 at the earliest. The results also reveal a discrepancy between manufacturers and distributors/manufacturer representatives in their views of the market, possibly due to inventory issues. The quarterly survey results suggest that quarter-to-quarter growth will remain flat or slightly negative until Q4.

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