According to a report by IHS Markit, the iPhone 6s took the top spot above all competitors for sales in 2016. It the fourth quarter alone, the new iPhone 7 was the 2016 best-seller followed by iPhone 7 Plus.
The report says that "Apple again has demonstrated that its new iPhones integrate enough innovations and new features to drive sales and remain successful in the market."
"The company is also capable of selling older devices for an extended period of time. For instance, the year-old iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were both among the most-shipped," it said.
Meanwhile, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and S7 ranked fifth and ninth, respectively. As sales of these two devices have outperformed their immediate predecessors, S6 and S6 Edge and the combined shipments of S7 and S7 Edge in 2016 were 10 million higher than S6 and S6 Edge over the same period.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall and Galaxy S7 Edge, became the best flagships in the premium line-up of Samsung.
The report also notes that Samsung's ability to drive the sales of older premium devices was impressive. Aggressive promotions, which included bundling with Gear VR, helped increase the sales of S7 and S7 Edge.
Huawei has also managed to get the third-largest smartphone maker after Apple and Samsung, did not have any models in the top 10 most-shipped smartphones in 2016.
"Similar to Samsung, Huawei continues to address multiple smartphone pricing segments - either with its own Huawei-branded handsets or with those of its sub-brand, Honor. In the premium segment, Huawei's P9 was among its own top five most-shipped smartphone models in 2016, performing better than previous flagships," the report added.
Chinese smartphone maker Oppo posted growth of 109 percent in smartphone shipments to become the fourth largest smartphone maker in terms of unit shipment up from the seventh spot in 2015.
"Unlike Huawei, OPPO has a smaller product portfolio and operates in fewer markets, with more than 80 percent of the company's 2016 shipments within its home market of China," it further added.