An estimated 12 billion internet-connected devices will be used worldwide by the end of the year – that is an average of 1.7 devices for every person on the planet.

Strategy Analytics forecasts that number hitting 33 billion devices by 2020, when the number of connections per person will more than double to 4.3.

connected devicesThe research firm said that traditional connected devices like PCs, smartphones and tablets now account for less than a third of all connected devices. In 2007 PCs accounted for two-thirds of internet devices. That percentage has dropped to 10 per cent, said David Mercer, principal analyst at Strategy Analytics.

The firm predicts that emerging categories – such as the Internet of Things (IoT), smart home and wearables – will connect an additional 17.6 billion devices to the internet by 2020.

IoT has already connected an estimated five billion devices. The key IoT growth drivers are M2M, smart objects, smart grid and smart cities.

The surge in internet-connected devices is driving strong revenue growth in the broadband consumer premises equipment (CPE) market, which IHS Technology forecasts will increase 20 per cent this year to reach $11 billion.

The company expects CPE revenue to climb to nearly $13 billion by 2016.

IHS said much of the growth this year is due to a recovery in the DSL CPE market, which declined last year as a result of strong operator investment in FTTP infrastructure.

However, it noted that new high-speed DSL technologies – bonding and vectoring – are letting service providers offer broadband speeds up to 200Mb/s on legacy copper infrastructure, which gives them more flexibility in upgrading their networks and pushes fiber closer to the home without the cost of directly accessing each household.