NATICK, MA--Membrane and conductive rubber technologies will continue to drive the market for keyboards and keypads, but alternative technologies are increasingly being used in many products.

According to a study by Venture Development Corp., North American sales of keyboards and keypads will grow 7.8 percent annually to a total of more than $2.21 billion in 2004. Keyboard and keypad sales exceeded $1.52 billion in 1999.

The most rapid growth in keyboard and keypad sales will be among manufacturers of appliances, communications equipment, consumer electronics, medical devices and transportation equipment. Sales will decline among manufacturers of retail equipment, industrial controls, military equipment, office equipment, and computers and peripherals.

Many manufacturers are exploring the use of optical, magnetic, digital and other noncontact data entry technologies, especially for handheld devices.

To order a copy of the study, call 508-653-9000 or visit