A total of 2.5 million smartphones has been shipped to Myanmar in the third quarter of 2016, reflecting a 26% year-on-year (YoY) growth, according to International Data Corporation. This has been the strongest YoY growth seen in Myanmar’s budding smartphone market since 2015Q3. Sequentially, shipments declined 10% from 2.7 million in 2016Q2 as soft retail sales and the typhoon season negatively impacted smartphone buying in the country.

Samsung continued to keep its lead, owing it largely to the good reception of its budget-friendly J-series. Huawei came in at second place and while finishing with a flat quarter, its sales and distribution were still going strong across Myanmar. Vivo spiked last quarter, coming in at third place as it further penetrated tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Xiaomi dropped to the fourth spot although its volume remained high and consumer response stayed positive as it continued to offer smartphones perceived as good value for money. OPPO held the fifth place, maintaining its stronghold in the urban sites of Yangon and Mandalay although its overall shipments dropped quarter-on quarter (QoQ) due to inventory build-up.

Despite being a budget market for devices, Myanmar’s feature phone market remains very small, unlike other emerging markets, accounting for only 20% of total mobile phone shipments in 2016Q3.

IDC maintains a positive outlook for Myanmar’s smartphone market in 2017, although growth is expected to be tamer compared to previous years.

“IDC expects Myanmar’s smartphone market to grow by 9% this 2017 off the back of relatively low smartphone penetration rate and rising disposable income. This is already a lowered forecast to account for the slower consumer market and political instability in some parts of Myanmar,” said Jerome Dominguez, market analyst for Mobile Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific.

Myanmar’s projected growth for smartphones in 2017 still stands higher than the 6% growth expected in the whole ASEAN region for next year.