The Internet of Things: Consumer Adoption and Perception


by Ayaz Nanji

Some 30% of consumers in the United States already own or plan to purchase an in-home network-connected appliance—such as a smart thermostat or refrigerator—in the next two years, according to a recent report from Acquity Group.

Moreover, 69% of US consumers surveyed say they expect to own an in-home “Internet of Things” (IoT) appliance in the next five years.

A significant number of consumers also expect to purchase wearable IoT devices—such as smartwatches and heads-up displays—in the coming years. Some 7% of say they already own this type of device, and twice as many (14%) expect to do so by 2015. Exactly half of the consumers surveyed say they may purchase a device in this category in the next five years.

Among IoT wearable technology, fitness applications (such as wristbands) are expected to be adopted at the fastest rate, with 13% of consumers saying they plan to purchase one within the next year. Nearly a quarter (22%) of respondents plan to use wearable fitness devices by 2015, and 43% think they will do so in the next five years.

Smartwatches are the second most popular type of wearable device, with 5% of consumers planning to purchase one in the next year and 8% by 2015. Some 25% of respondents expect to own a smartwatch in the next five years.

Smart clothing and heads-up displays are the least likely to catch on in the short term, with only 3% of consumers expecting to purchase either in the next year. And 14% of respondents expect to own smart clothing, and 16% expect to own a wearable headset device, in the next five years.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 2,000 consumers in the United States.

Barriers to Adoption

  • 87% of respondents had not heard of the term “The Internet of Things” prior to the study.
  • Men are more than twice as likely as women to have heard of “The Internet of Things.”
  • 64% of the consumers surveyed say they are not aware that items such as smart fridges and smoke detectors are available for purchase; 40% do not know that wearable technology such as smartwatches are already available.
  • 36% of respondents say they see little value in having a network-connected appliance and 30% say the same about wearable technology.

Privacy and Security Concerns

  • 57% of consumers say they are less likely to purchase wearable devices because of concerns about hacks and data breaches.
  • However, 40% of consumers are willing to share data from their wearable devices with retailers or brands in exchange for coupons, discounts, or information; only 9% would do so without incentives.
  • 60% of consumers would share data from their network-connected car with the manufacturer if they were offered a free maintenance session.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 2,000 consumers in the United States.