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The earliest examples of circuit boards date back to the early 1900s, and in the 120 years since then, electrical engineers around the world have been perfecting this technology and shaping our modern society.

Since the 1950s, we in the United States have seen the commercial advancement of PCBs to the point that they now serve as the foundation for nearly all modern electronics.

As engineering, software development, and manufacturing techniques continue to improve, so do the materials and capabilities of modern PCBs. This has led to a boom in market share, innovation, and diversity of applications that has turned the industry into one of the world’s most exciting and unpredictable.

So, where does this foundational technology go from here? How will the market grow into the middle of the century, and where are current advancements concentrated?

To help sort through the state of the industry, we’ve collected some surprising facts about the PCB industry and our predictions about what they mean for the future of printed circuit boards.

The Global PCB Market Stats 

As the world continues to rely more heavily on technology for everything from commerce to entertainment, the share of the PCB market has grown year over year and isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

Size and Growth Trend Statistics

1. According to GMI, the global PCB market was valued at $75 billion in 2021 and is expected to rise to $120 billion by 2030. [1]

2. The consumer electronics industry is the biggest growth driver of PCB revenue, and that industry is projected to top $1 trillion market share by 2028. [2]

3. Overall, the PCB market is expected to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.0% in the next decade. [1]

Key Players and Region Statistics

4. While the Western world has already seen wide adoption of consumer electronics, developing economies like the Asia-Pacific region are expected to experience huge growth in luxury goods and electronics in the next decade. Because of this, APAC dominated the market with a revenue share of 47% in 2022. [1] North America was second with 27%, followed by Europe at 19%.

5. APAC also dominates the production of PCBs, with China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and the USA rounding out the top 5 PCB manufacturing companies by export revenue. [3]

Impact of Technological Advancements Stats

As the foundation of most modern technologies, the PCB industry is extremely sensitive to new advancements in technology and materials science. As manufacturers continue to improve their ability to produce diverse and highly capable PCBs, their applications will only grow.

6. Per GMI, rigid PCBs are expected to be in great demand in the coming decade, thanks to their exceptional durability and versatility. They accounted for 85% of the market share in 2021. [1]

7. Substrate technologies are also rapidly improving. So-called flexible PCBs, which offer a valuable alternative to traditional rigid PCBs, could reach a market share of $41 billion on their own by 2030, with a CAGR of 10.6% predicted by  [4]

PCB Manufacturing Trend Statistics

Advancements in technology, drastic changes in energy prices, and the cost of labor all have large ripple effects on this wide-ranging industry. Here are a few stats to know about the current trends in PCB manufacturing.

Evolution of the PCB Manufacturing Process Stats

8. Modern developments in the manufacturing of flexible PCBs, such as roll-to-roll processing, mean PCBs are taking up less space and fitting into new configurations daily. This has applications in industries from consumer electronics to aerospace engineering and should drive the 10.7% CAGR predicted by Maximize. [5]

Automation Stats

9. Labor accounts for somewhere between 65-80% of the total production cost of a printed circuit board. This factor is the main driver of the surge in APAC production, where labor is more affordable. [2]

Environmental Sustainability in PCB Production Stats

The PCB manufacturing process relies on heavy energy and electricity consumption, which means the rising cost of energy will play a big factor in the profitability and margins of PCB manufacturers in the coming decade.

10. The U.S. saw a 20% increase in industrial power costs from 2021-2022. This trend is only likely to continue. [6]

PCB Application Stats

PCBs are useful to every industry in the world in one way or another. Still, their direct applications are focused on electronics, telecom, automotive, and emerging sectors like the IoT.

PCB Diversity Stats

11. PCBs are the foundation of most modern electronics. 70% of global PCBs are used in the consumer electronics, computer, and telecom industries. The rest are concentrated in sectors like automotive and IoT. [7]

PCBs in the IoT and Automotive Industry Stats

12. The automotive industry is expected to be a massive growth driver for the PCB market. Fortune Business Insights expects the automotive market size to grow from $9.15 billion in 2023 to $13.39 billion by 2030, a CAGR of 5.6%. [8]

13. IoT, which includes smart home applications and wearable apps, will be another booming sector. According to Oberlo, more than 63 million US households will be using smart home devices in 2023—a figure expected to balloon up to 93 million by 2027. [9]

PCBs in Consumer Electronics Stats

14. Consumer electronics is the bread and butter of the PCB industry. These devices, which include smartphones, computers, TVs, and gaming consoles, are expected to reach a market size of $ 1.2 trillion by 2030. [10]

PCB Industry Challenges

PCB production was impacted by factory shutdowns, labor shortages, and raw material shortages. Lower demand from industries like consumer electronics, communications, automotive, and industrial also contributed to declining sales.

15. The world’s copper supply and demand is something to watch out for, since PCBs rely heavily on this conductive material. According to McKinsey, the global demand for copper could reach 36.6 million metric tones by 2031. However, the current supply projections only reach 30.1 million metric tons—a 20% shortfall. [11]

PCB Regulatory Compliance

16. Noncompliance with certain regulations, like the RoHS, can have devastating impacts for manufacturers. According to one report by Allianz, the cost of a recall of an electronics product can be upwards of $11million. [12

Surprising PCB Industry Statistics

Most people may assume that PCBs are a modern phenomenon developed in the last few decades, but their reach and history go back much longer.

The First Printed Circuit Board

17. PCBs are older than you might think. The first PCB was arguably patented in 1903 for use in early telephone systems. Commercial applications became widespread starting in the 1950s. Before that, they were useful in aiding the Allies in WW2. [13]

PCBs in space exploration

17. NASA relies heavily on PCBs for space travel. Their lightweight and versatile design makes them perfect for use aboard spacecraft. The NASA PCB Working Group makes technology assessments and recommendations to NASA for PCB quality assurance. [14]

Future Outlook Statistics 

Where is the industry going from here? It seems we’re only growing more and more reliant on technology as the years pass, so those trying to follow the developments of PCB manufacturers will have to pay close attention.

Predictions for the PCB Industry 

19. PCB market size is projected to reach $86 billion by 2026 [15], potentially up to $105 billion by 2033 [16].

20. Expect to see the PCB industry become more and more automated. As McKinsey reports, 64% of global manufacturing is automatable. [17]

Influence of Emerging Technologies (AI)

21. AI algorithms, like machine learning, can reduce the workload on employees while improving productivity by up to 50%. These algorithms will rely heavily on PCBs. [17]

22. The market for robots powered by PCBs may see massive growth, with a projected CAGR of 40% by 2027. [17]

Sustainability Initiatives in PCB Manufacturing

23. In the US, the Electronic Waste Recycling Act has been law since 2004, which aims to curb the 7 million tons of electronic waste Americans produce yearly. [18]

24. Europe’s ROHS meant that the industry had to switch to lead-free solder alloys, which most of the industry now follows. The RoHS has contributed to a 67% reduction in the use of hazardous substances. [19]

25. PCBs are becoming easier to recycle. In 2023, Jiva Materials announced the world’s first fully soluble PCB. [19]

Stay Connected with Imagineering

The PCBs in your devices are engineering marvels. For 120 years, humanity has developed and honed this technology so that modern PCBs are flexible, lightweight, versatile, and one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.

Whether your interest is in sustainability, investment, technology, or just as a hobby, Imagineering provides the latest industry news and information in the PCB industry.

Visit Imagineering for more insights into the technology and solutions used in the PCB world. For example, have you ever wanted to know if your PCB is repairable? Check our latest blog for more!

If you’re in the market for a new PCB manufacturer specializing in flexible or rigid, double-sided, and multilayered PCBs, contact Imagineering and find out what we can do for you.