As soon as your new smartphone is taken out of the box, it starts to lose value. According to buyback site and refurbished seller, Decluttr, if tradition holds, the current generation of Apple iPhone models will lose 15% of their valuation within one month following the launch of the iPhone 12 line. Speaking about the 2019 iPhone models, Decluttr's annual Phone depreciation report made a fascinating discovery: the more expensive a phone, the less amount of money it loses to depreciation. For example, 2018's iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max cost $999 and $1,099 at launch. Over the handsets' first six months, they lost 43% and 42% respectively. On the other hand, the OnePlus 7 Pro, which cost $669 at launch, lost 63% of its value over six months.
Apple iPhone units tend to retain more of their value than other phones
Phones that cost $900 or more brand spanking new lose 51% of their value on average in the first 6 months while phones priced between $700-$899 usually see their valuations drop by 56% over the same time period. Phones tagged at $699 or less typically see their valuations decline by 64%. And this is no fluke. If we go further down the timeline to one year, the high-end phones drop 58% of their value, the mid-range models depreciate by 65% and the value of the low-end units drop by 66%. So if you need to convince your significant other why it is better to spend $1,000 on a new phone instead of less than $700, this data should be convincing.
So how well do major phone brands retain their value? After 12 months, iPhone models depreciate by 51% rising to 67% after 24 months. Samsung handsets lost more value after 12 months (67%) and 24 months (80%) as did Google's phones (69% and 83% after 12 and 24 months, respectively). Huawei's handsets depreciated by 70% after one year and 81% after two years. OnePlus models did worse with a 12 month decline in value of 72% and a two-year decline of 83%. Some models lose a huge chunk of value in a short period of time. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, one of Sammy's most expensive phones, lost a whopping 72% of its value after just one year. But that is far from the biggest drop in valuation. The OnePlus 5, after 12 months, had a stunning 91% decline in its valuation.
In its report, Decluttr says, "Apple have maintained their spot at the top, with their mobile phones losing the lowest percent of value in the first 12 months, at 51%. The mobile phones go on to lose a total of just 67% on average by the end of the average 24-month contract period...OnePlus mobile phones lose an average of 72% of their value in the first 12 months, but by the end of the average 24-month contract period, the value lost matches that of Google mobile phones, at 83%."
It goes hand-in-hand. Phones that retain their valuation better than others are the ones that end up being traded in toward the purchase of a new phone. The top ten phones that were included in a trade-in over the last 12 months include the iPhone X, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 Pro Max, Galaxy S8+, and the Galaxy Note 9.
With the global economy suffering as it is from the coronavirus outbreak, we are apt to see more trades done this year since many people will be more concerned with putting food on the table instead of a shiny new phone in their hands. Even with the knowledge that this report provides, and the potential savings, we still don't imagine that many consumers are going to even give this data any consideration when deciding which phone to buy.