Android phones lose value twice as fast as iPhones, report finds

iPhones depreciate by 16.7% when traded in after a year, but Android phones lose 33.6% of their original value

Shoppers browse Apple Inc. iPhones inside the AliExpress plaza retail store, operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2020. U.S. officials deliberated but ultimately decided against banning American investment in Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person familiar with the discussions said, removing a cloud of uncertainty over Asia’s two biggest corporations. Photographer: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

Android smartphones such as Samsung, Motorola, LG and Google devices depreciate at double the rate of Apple’s ­iPhones, according to a report by New York gadget reseller BankMyCell.

An iPhone being traded in a year after purchase has an expected average depreciation rate of 16.70 per cent, compared with 33.62 per cent for Android handsets.

"In two years, the current average depreciation of a new iPhone is 35.47 per cent, compared with Android's 61.50 per cent," the report said.

“After four years, the gap begins to close, with iPhones losing 66.43 per cent, compared with Android’s 81.11 per cent.”

A trade-in is a buy-back arrangement in which an old device is taken as part payment for the new device.

BankMyCell tracked the resale values of the world’s 310 most popular phones last year.

According to Google, there are more than 2.5 billion active Android devices, with the platform supporting both premium and cheap devices.

Apple said in January 2020 that it had 1.5 billion active devices, a jump from 1.4 billion devices in 2019.

Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones in Phantom Black, Phantom White, Phantom Violet, and Phantom Pink at the Samsung Unpacked product launch event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Samsung Electronics Co. Thursday debuted three Galaxy S21 smartphones, upgraded earbuds, and a gadget to track physical items, rivaling Apple Inc.'s 5G iPhone 12 line as well as its own future AirPods and item tracker. Photographer: Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg

Many consumers rely on trade-ins to offset the ever-increasing prices of new smartphones, said Ash Turner, chief executive and founder of BankMyCell.

“In 2010, the price of a flagship device such as the iPhone 4 was around $599,” he said.

“By comparison, today the latest top of the range iPhone 12 Pro Max will cost you $1,399 ... and some phones such as the Galaxy Fold retailed for $1,999.”

The iPhone 11 Pro Max, a premium gadget, lost 15.96 per cent of its value last year, compared with the Galaxy S20 Ultra that depreciated by 34.73 per cent since it was unveiled in February last year.

Depreciation occurs more quickly for cheaper gadgets.

Samsung, Motorola, LG, HTC and Google devices that cost $350 or less lose an average of 52.61 per cent in a year and 94.9 per cent over four years, the report found.

The iPhone SE, a cheaper device unveiled by Apple in April last year, lost 38.32 per cent of its original trade-in value of $340 in the eight months after its release.

The best-selling smartphones of 2020