The IDC survey showed South Korean giant Samsung maintaining the top spot by delivering some 79.8 million handsets for a 23.3 percent market share.
Apple held onto the number two spot with a 12 percent share after delivering 41 million iPhones.
Samsung and Apple both slightly increased their market share compared with a year earlier, increasing sales 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, IDC said.
Huawei was the third largest vendor, with an 11.3 percent market share. The Chinese electronics giant closed the gap with Apple with 19.6 percent unit sales growth, adding two percentage points to market share from a year earlier, according to the survey.
IDC said that while overall sales were lower than a year earlier, the top five smartphone vendors showed positive growth while declines were seen for other manufacturers.
"It's no secret that the smartphone market is a very challenging segment for companies to maintain or grow share, especially as already low average selling prices declined by another 4.3 percent in 2016," said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.
"The smaller, more localized vendors will continue to struggle, especially as the leading volume drivers build out their portfolio into new markets and price segments."
The survey comes ahead of the anticipated release of new handsets from Apple and Samsung as well as other makers for the holiday season.
Apple managed to boost iPhone sales from the same period a year ago despite intense speculation about the 10th anniversary edition of the popular device.
But Apple has lost ground in the Chinese market, with revenues down 10 percent from a year earlier in its "Greater China" segment.