Apple (AAPL 0.62%) has been dominating the wearables market in recent years, thanks in large part to the popularity of Apple Watch. Strong demand for AirPods also helps, as the company is likewise the leader in hearables. The smartwatch market has been able to grow so far this year despite the economic havoc that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked across the world.

The Mac maker has expanded its market share over the past year and represented over half of all smartwatch revenue in the first two quarters of 2020.

A customer trying on an Apple Watch in an Apple Store

Image source: Apple.

Apple Watch is the most popular smartwatch in the world

Counterpoint Research estimates that Apple's share of smartwatch revenue in the first half of 2020 was 51.4%, up from 43.2% in the first half of 2019. The No. 2 vendor was Garmin (GRMN -0.44%) with 9.4% share during that time frame, followed by China's Huawei at 8.3%. Overall unit volumes were roughly flat at around 42 million as consumers tried to continue exercising during the coronavirus crisis, but the 20% growth in total smartwatch revenue points to an increase in average selling prices (ASPs).

"The smartwatch space remains a popular consumer device segment, compared to the downturn seen in smartphone demand and many other segments in the first six months of 2020 due to the devastation caused by COVID-19," Counterpoint senior analyst Sujeong Lim said. "Close to 42 million smartwatches were shipped in the first half of 2020 as wearables continue to see greater demand with consumers becoming more health conscious."

The Apple Watch Series 5 has the most popular smartwatch model thus far in 2020, followed by the older Apple Watch Series 3 that the Cupertino tech giant continues to sell at a lower $199 price point. Huawei's Watch GT2 was the third best-selling gadget, with Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active 2 ranking No. 4 in popularity.

Fitbit (FIT) didn't fare too well, grabbing just 2.4% of smartwatch revenue. The wearable tech specialist, which Alphabet's (GOOG 0.66%) (GOOGL 0.49%) Google is attempting to acquire, faced stiff competition from Apple and Garmin, according to Counterpoint's Neil Shah. The market researcher believes that Fitbit will need to do more to "ignite the demand during the holiday season." Fitbit is expected to have a Versa 3 in the pipeline, as well as a new smartwatch model called the Sense.

Earlier this month, Fitbit reported a nearly 30% drop in devices sold (including both smartwatches and basic fitness trackers) in its fiscal second quarter. As for Google, Counterpoint estimates that the company's WearOS platform represented approximately 10% of the market.

European antitrust regulators recently opened an antitrust investigation into Google's proposed acquisition of Fitbit over concerns that the search giant will leverage sensitive health data for ad-targeting purposes. Still, both companies remain optimistic about closing the deal before year-end.