Over 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped in 2014 out of a total of 4.6 million smart wearable bands, according to Canalys, a global technology analysis provider. Though the Moto 360 remained supply constrained through Q4, Motorola was the clear leader among Android Wear vendors. LG’s round G Watch R performed significantly better than its original G Watch, while Asus and Sony entered the market with their own Android Wear devices. Pebble meanwhile shipped a total of 1 million units from its 2013 launch through to the end of 2014. Continual software updates, more apps in its app store and price cuts in the fall helped maintain strong sales in the second half of the year. “Samsung has launched six devices in just 14 months, on different platforms and still leads the smart band market. But it has struggled to keep consumers engaged and must work hard to attract developers while it focuses on Tizen for its wearables.” said Chris Jones, Canalys vice president and principal analyst.
Following a completely different strategy to other vendors, Xiaomi shipped over a million units of its Mi Band, the colorful and affordable basic band. This included one day of sales of over 103,000 units. “Though the Mi Band is a lower-margin product than competing devices, Xiaomi entered the wearables market with a unique strategy, and its shipment volumes show how quickly a company can become a major force in a segment based solely on the size of the Chinese market,” said Canalys research analyst Jason Low. Fitbit remained the global leader in the basic wearable band market.
All eyes are now on Apple, which will reveal further details about the Apple Watch prior to its release in April. The product will dramatically grow the market for smart bands and wearables overall. “Apple made the right decisions with its WatchKit software development kit to maximize battery life for the platform, and the Apple Watch will offer leading energy efficiency,” said Canalys analyst Daniel Matte. “Android Wear will need to improve significantly in the future, and we believe it will do so.”
Wearable band shipment data is taken from Canalys’ wearable technology analysis service, which provides quarterly market tracking, including country-level estimates. Canalys defines basic wearable bands as devices serving a specific set of purposes that act as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried, and that cannot run third-party computing applications. Smart wearable bands are multi-purpose devices that serve as accessories to smart devices, are designed to be worn on the body and not carried, and are capable of running third-party computing applications. Bands are wearables designed to be wrapped around the body and do not include activity trackers in the form of clips.