Just like many of the physical items that you purchase, your smartphone loses value over time due to depreciation. This erosion of value is tracked by a website called BankMyCell; throughout last year the company tracked buyback values of 310 popular smartphones on an hourly basis. According to a new report it published, based on handsets with an initial buyback price of $700 or higher, Android phones lose value twice as fast as iOS models over the first two years of ownership.
Apple iPhone units lose less value than Android models
As soon as you take a phone home and unwrap it, the clock starts ticking and the depreciation begins. Over one year, the average depreciation of an iPhone was 16.70% and 35.47% over two years. Compare that to the average drop in value of 33.62% for an Android phone over one year and 61.50% over two. That large gap does shrink over time. After four years, the average iPhone has seen 66.43% of its value melt away compared to 81.11% for the average Android phone over the same time period.
HTC handsets lost the most value last year
Looking at individual models, the depreciation can be even higher depending on how well-received a particular phone was in the marketplace. For example, just 9 months after the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra was released, the buyback price was -64.71% of its original price. Issues with the camera, the high price, and the beginning of the pandemic all made the Galaxy S20 Ultra a hard sell. During the same 9 month time span, the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max lost 32.22% of its original retail value.
Lower priced Android phones priced at $350 or less depreciate by 52.61% after the first year, 73.61% over two years, 85.15% after three years, and 94.90% after year four. One example mentioned in the report, the mid-range Samsung Galaxy A50 saw its valuation drop by nearly 80% from March 2019 to December 2020.
By brand, Apple’s handsets depreciate the less meaning that they hold their value better than most phones. On average, iPhone models had an average 22.35% loss in value last year. HTC was the worst, most likely due to the lack of a resale market for the brand. On average, HTC smartphones declined 53.08% in value in 2020.