The global smartphone shipments grew three per cent annually in 2016. However, in fourth quarter of 2016 smartphone shipments reached the record 440 million units with a year-on-year growth of nine per cent, a report by market analytics firm Counterpoint Research revealed on Wednesday.

Apple had a record quarter shipping 78.3 million iPhones in all important holiday season, surpassing Samsung in overall smartphone market share.

Smartphone shipments reached 1,512 million units in 2016 with four out five smartphones shipped were LTE enabled.

"Going forward, we estimate LTE to be a dominant technology for mass market adoption with Gigabit LTE to start providing the foundation next year for premium high speed mobile broadband before the 5G rollout takes over by 2022," said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research. 

Samsung led the smartphone market by volume with a market share of 21 per cent in 2016. Its smartphone shipments declined four per cent year-on-year registering 310 million units during the year.

Huawei shipments reached record 139 million units with 28 per cent year-on-year growth. Oppo and Vivo grew 112 per cent and 78 per cent year-on-year reaching 93 and 72 million units in 2016, the findings showed.

Xiaomi, the most talked about vendor in 2016, slipped to seventh spot globally during the year as the demand for its smartphones declined 16 per cent annually.

Oppo, Huawei, Vivo, Meizu and Gionee drove the majority of the volume, capturing a combined 58 per cent of the total Chinese smartphone market in 2016, the report added.