CHICAGO, ILL: Wearable fitness devices are leading the US consumer charge into the internet of things, with over one fifth already owning one or planning a purchase by 2015.

According to the 2014 State of the Internet of Things Study, carried out by digital marketing agency Acquity Group, part of consulting firm Accenture, that figure will hit 43% within the next five years, making "fit-tech" devices a truly mass market product.

More than 2,000 consumers across the US were surveyed to gain insight into their preferences for and barriers against use of the internet of things (IoT). After fit-tech, the other areas expected to see the most take-up were smart thermostats, from a projected 13% adoption in 2015 to 43% in the next five years, and connected security systems, from 11% to 35% over the same period

Smart clothing and heads-up displays were expected to see the least overall adoption, with only a 3% projected adoption in the next year, and 14% and 16% in the next five years.

The survey also revealed that even self-identified "late adopters" were planning to take the plunge, not just tech enthusiasts. For example, 75% of consumers and 62% of late adopters said they would purchase a wearable device in the next five years; those figures fell to 42% and 24% respectively for purchases within the next two years.

Men were more likely than women to buy wearable technology in the coming five years – 53% against 45% – but women were more likely to already own a fit-tech device – 8% versus 7%.

"The growth of these devices will have a major impact on customer experience innovation across industries," said Jay Dettling, president of Acquity Group. "Adoption of IoT technologies can provide digital businesses high-quality brand engagement opportunities with customers and drive more revenues," he added.

An alternative view of where this market stands came from market intelligence business CCS Insight, which described the wearable tech market as being in the Stone Age.

"There needs to be huge improvements to broaden their appeal," Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight director of forecasting, told Marketing Week. She added that the market could change "beyond recognition" if a player such as Apple entered.

"History shows us that when Apple enters a market it can reshape the way people think about a product," she said.

Data sourced from Accenture, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff