If you've been getting the impression that the hype surrounding smartwatches is exceeding all reality, you weren't wrong.
Market research firm Canalys has just released its estimates for the global smartwatch sales in 2014:
Over 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped in 2014 out of a total of 4.6 million smart wearable bands. 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.
While 4.6 million sounds like a lot, it's worth noting that around this time last year Canalys projected that sales of smart wearable bands would top 8 million units last year.
It looks like they missed by a bit. (So did Business Insider, which predicted 15 million smartwatches would be sold last year.)
Snickering aside, if the Canalys estimates are accurate then smartwatch sales in 2014 were over double the estimated sales for 2013 (I don't have exact figures, so I can't say for sure). That's not the insanely fast growth that some were expecting but it's still significant growth in a market which still lacks Apple.
The Apple Watch is expected to ship in April.