Galaxies, iPhones, Sony or LG? And the depreciating phone brand losing most value is...

Galaxies, iPhones, Sony or LG? And the depreciating phone brand losing most value is...
Besides design, specs and street cred, there is another important variable to explore while choosing a phone - value retention. What good is the snazzy flagship you paid close to a grand for, if a few months after its introduction it would have become an upper midranger, and, more importantly, lost a whole midrange price tag in value?

This is why we are curious to know if last year's flagships, for example, are ageing gracefully. After all, 2018 was the year when average phone prices hit a record, and there's never been such a price jump year-on-year, thanks mainly to "1K" phones like the iPhones and Notes, but also to other high-ends from Google, Huawei or Sony that saw a price boost compared to their predecessors, and the trend seems likely to continue this year. 

The folks from SellCell have used data from their phone buyback partners to examine the depreciation rate of Apple, Samsung, Google, Sony, and LG phones. As can be expected, just like in 2017, the 2018 LG flagships lost a lot of value but the worst offenders were Sony's phones. Bear in mind that SellCell takes the trade-in prices and you might be able to get more on Craigslist or eBay, but the playing field is even still.

As many of our own observations and calculations have shown over the years, Appe and Samsung flagships keep their value best on account of the fact that these are the two most popular phone brands. Google is holding its own with the Pixel line, too, which is not nearly as ubiquitous as the iPhones and Galaxies of this world. 

Still, the moral of the story is that your new phone is a money-losing machine just like a new car, and buying last year's flagship of your favorite brand seems to be the smartest financial move when it comes to phone purchases.



1. Papa_Ji

Posts: 873; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Smartest move is to buy phone like Redmi K20 Pro or Realme X2 Pro. These are almost head to head with Samsung and Apple flagships.... But at 1/3 price.

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Lets face it, Anyone looking to buy any smartphone, and then looking that smartphone after one year. Is just looking to get ripped off, period.

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The other thing is most Android smartphones will have sales all throughout the year. Especially since competition is fierce amoungst Android OEMs. There is no competition for Apples iPhones, because Apple sets all the pricing, and also knows that it will set the pricing for the older iPhones as well. Most Android OEMs try and sell their smartphones within a single year. Otherwise they will see major sales for their smartphones. For instance the Pixel 3 had deep sales from Google just before they release this years Pixel 4. Google isn't sell their Pixel 3 anymore. This happens to most Android OEMs. So paying full price for any smartphone, and then selling it after a year is stupid, for any smartphone, period. Fools will be fools.

7. midan

Posts: 3097; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

If you wanna settle for less, i guess then it's smart.

13. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The voice of experience.

12. AbhiD

Posts: 851; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Nobody cares about your suggestions dude. Enjoy your ad filled bloated MIUI and bloated Color OS that will never receive updates and don't even look anything like Android.

19. Cyberchum

Posts: 1099; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Really? I own a Xiaomi and there are no ads; I disabled them all. And there are no ads on ones sold in Europe. They're region-dependent. That's a cheap blow you got. Bloated? It's virtually as bloated as Samsung's One UI, buddy. About not looking anything like Android; how does Android look? Or you mean it doesn't look like Stock/AOSP, because One UI doesn't look like that, too, and people still fancy it. There's beauty in diversity, one of the reasons I'd not own an iOS device. His opinion might not be the "smartest move" to all, but it's to those who don't have a lot to spend on big name flagships, but still want good performers. Everyone is free to spend their money how they see right.

22. jmonteiro829

Posts: 266; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

One man's bloat is another mans feature. At least we got the option of added functionality!

21. AlienKiss

Posts: 241; Member since: May 21, 2019

Bleah! I wouldn't use a china brand even if they gave me a lambo.. I'm from Europe in case you're wondering and I totally dislike that senile old fart trumpet, but you'll never see me a commy lover!

23. PartTimePhoner

Posts: 33; Member since: Jun 03, 2019

I mean if you think you domt need the extra specs sure

2. inFla

Posts: 165; Member since: Aug 17, 2018

LG flagships depreciate a lot that's why I wait to later in the model year to buy them. Great phones at low mid range prices. For the quality of phone and the low price I can wait for updates.

9. mr.joosue

Posts: 65; Member since: Nov 06, 2017

Bought the V35 for $200 off of eBay recently, I think it was great value for the money I'm happy with my purchase

3. Demo-jay

Posts: 86; Member since: Feb 13, 2018

Sammy might be number 2 but that xit is low, there is a huge gap,

5. liteon163

Posts: 67; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

While I appreciate the fair comparison of trade in value, I think it would paint a more accurate picture if the sale price of used devices were used instead. It is easier to buy a used LG phone at a lower price than a Sony with similar specs.

8. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1095; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

It's easier to buy most brands used over SONY because SONY has low sales. The majority of consumers get their devices directly from their carrier and SONY doesn't partner with any, at least not in the US

10. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2280; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Should add iPhones to the list as they tend to over throttle after each year

11. libra89

Posts: 2310; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

This is good to know...

14. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2270; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Android is dime a essence you get the same experience +/- with Android brand. We all know that iPhones hold their value well year to year. That's a given... This article is useless. Their is a difference between "trade in value" (what carriers and retailers perceived value of the phones) vs. "resale value" (eBay, Craigslist, etc...). These phones will go considerably higher based on resale value over trade in.

15. michaelny2001

Posts: 340; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

the pic shows oneplus 7PRO but it is not shown here because it lost $0. now with the addition of 7T maybe lost 50 bucks. lol

17. KingSam

Posts: 1492; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

Trade-in value is not representative of the street resale value at all. But I guess this way is easier to standardize. They should have included the S8/Note 8 series because they include the iPhone X/8. This would have shown the depreciation over 2 years at which iPhones have a clear advantage. Phones depreciate the most the first year and then stabilize a bit. Iphones are holding their value really good since the X pushed the prices up. Also I buy last years phones and save a lot in the process.

20. Cyberchum

Posts: 1099; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

iOS devices are holding their values more because there's only one manufacturer. Android has thousands.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.