ST. CHARLES, IL--Worldwide sales of electronic connectors totaled $31.6 billion in 2000--more than 18 percent more than 1999 sales and the largest sales increase since 1981.

According to Bishop & Associates Inc., the connector industry has posted just 2 years of declining sales in the past 20 years. In that same period, the industry has achieved a compound average growth rate of 7.2 percent.

Computers and peripherals continue to be the largest market for electronic connectors, with shipments totaling more than $8.43 billion in 2000. Connectors for these devices now account for 26.7 percent of all connectors manufactured. Ranking second is telecommunications equipment, with 18.6 percent of sales last year.