The smartphone market in Southeast Asia faced strong headwinds in Q3 as local economies grappled with the effects of the Sino-US trade war, with shipments declining in four of seven countries, data from Canalys showed.

Shipments in seven countries in the region fell 3 per cent year-on-year to 25.4 million units, as three of the five largest markets suffered falls in the quarter. Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar all saw double-digit declines – 20.1 per cent, 6.8 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively – while the Philippines dropped by 3.1 per cent.

Indonesia led the growth with a 13.2 per cent increase, largely due to the growth of official channels and wider availability of TKDN-compliant devices, Canalys said. Malaysia grew 5.3 per cent to return closer to pre-2016 levels, and Cambodia was up 6.8 per cent.

Canalys analyst TuanAnh Nguyen said a temporary correction caused a one-off decline overall, distracting from the true potential of the region, noting “the booming population and low penetration beyond the metro cities presents a prime opportunity for smartphone vendors to continue investing in these markets”.

He added: “The rise of the Chinese vendors set off a wave of consolidation, with multiple local and international vendors leaving the market. While 2018 is expected to end on a positive note, vendors will need to contend with a strengthening dollar and its impact on device prices.”

Samsung was the top vendor, shipping 5.8 million units and claiming the top spot in four markets (see chart, click to enlarge). Oppo was second, with 4.8 million shipments and the market leader in the Philippines and second in Thailand and Vietnam.

Canalyst research analyst Jin Shengtao said Oppo was the only vendor to appear in the top three of the region’s five largest markets. In the Philippines it overtook local king Cherry Mobile to lead for the first time with a market share of 20 per cent.

He said Samsung is facing difficulties maintaining its leadership in the region. The global leader failed to grow in all seven markets in Q3 and suffered double-digit declines in Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia. It even missed the 1 million mark in Thailand, declining 44 per cent year-on-year.