The growing adoption of Apple Pay will help Apple's smartwatch capture up to 68 percent of the smartwatch market by the end of the year.

Strong demand in China for the Apple Watch will also help the device's growth, according to market research firm Tractica.

Though Apple Watch came to market after Google's Android Wear, Samsung's Gear and the Pebble wearables, "Apple Watch has been the galvanizing force for the industry during the early stages of the [smartwatch market] contest," Boulder, Colo.-based Tractica stated in an Aug. 18 press release.

Tractica examined global market trends for smart watches in its latest report to deliver market sizing and forecasts through 2020.

Despite a lot of second-guessing about the prospects for Apple Watch and the overall market for smartwatches, Tractica projects Apple's product will have a firm grip on the market with 16.7 million Apple Watch shipments out of a total market of 24.4 million smartwatch deliveries by the year's end.

"The launch of native Apple Watch apps and improvements in software will provide some respite to early adopters," research director Aditya Kaul said in the release.  "Notifications are likely to become more contextual and useful, and we expect that Apple Pay will continue to gain momentum and will become an indispensable app for many users."

Apple has devoted "a significant amount of energy in marketing and retailing efforts in China," where demand is rising, Kaul added.

Also, Apple Watch is likely to become more affordable when the company announces a second-generation model early in 2016, Kaul predicted.

Pricing pressure has been considered one of the hurdles to consumer adoption of smartwatches and other payment-capable wearables.

Last month, Tractica research predicted that payments wearables were entering "a perfect storm" for consumer growth, with the potential to reach $501.1 billion in transactions by 2020. By the end of 2015 payment-capable wearables, which include inexpensive wristbands in addition to smartwatches, will deliver about $3.1 billion in transaction volume, the company said.

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