Twenty percent of American adults already own a wearable device and the adoption rate is quickly expected to rise, particularly amongst millennials, according to a new report.

The Wearable Future, a report by PwC, found that 53% of millennials and 54% of early adopters say they are excited about the future of wearable technology.

Among the top three potential benefits are improved safety, healthier living, and simplicity and ease of use.

For wearables to be most valuable to the consumer, the report suggests it needs to embrace 'Internet of Things' opportunities; transform big data into super data that not only culls, but also interprets information to deliver insights; and take a human-centred design approach, creating a simplified user experience and an easier means to achieve goals.

"Businesses must evolve their existing mobile-first strategy to now include the wearable revolution and deliver perceived value to the consumer in an experiential manner," said Deborah Bothun, PwC's US advisory entertainment, media & communications leader. "Relevance is the baseline, but then there is a consumer list of requirements to enable interaction with the brand in a mobile and wearable environment."

Both the consumer market and the business-to-business market stand to be "radicalised" by the mainstreaming of wearable technology, the report suggests.

For retail in particular, wearable technology is expected to become an integral part of many retail experiences, through better, more informed service; faster checkout; greater access to deals; and more real-time input into purchasing decisions.

"Wearable technology will slowly shift retail conventions as retailers will be able to connect the dots between pre-store and in-store behaviour, and reach a new level of interconnected retail," said Scott Bauer, PwC's US retail & consumer practice partner and omni-channel leader. "How consumers pay for purchases and interact with the retailer while in store is expected to be radically redefined by wearable technology and retailers cannot afford to ignore the impact it could have on their bottom line."

Click here to view the full report.