Android flagship phones depreciate nearly twice as fast as iPhones

Google Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro
Google Pixel 4 XL, Galaxy S10+ and OnePlus 7 Pro (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / iMore)

iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6

iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A report from BankMyCell reveals that Android flagship phones lose value nearly twice as fast as iPhones in the first year.
  • The top three brands that are the worst at retaining value are Motorola, LG, and Google.
  • The top five brands best at retaining value are Apple, Nokia, Sony, HTC, and Samsung.

Over the past few years, trading in or selling your current phone when it comes time to upgrade has become increasingly popular. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the ever-rising cost of the typical flagship these days. However, not all phones or phone brands lose their value equally.

Recently, BankMyCell published results after monitoring nearly 300 phones for resale values from multiple vendors in 2019. First, the bad news, on average Android flagship phones lose value almost twice as fast as iPhones. The report showed that, on average, an iPhone loses 23.45% of its value in the first year, while the average Android flagship phone loses 45.18% in the same time frame. That puts it on par with the iPhone's losses after two years at 45.46%. And unfortunately, by year two, the average Android flagship has lost 71.41% of its original value.

2019 2020 Operating System Price Drop

Source: BankMyCell (Image credit: Source: BankMyCell)

It only gets worse for budget Android smartphones with a price of $350 or less. According to the report, budget phones from Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Google depreciated 48.65% in 2019. For example, the Motorola One was released in October 2018 with a price of $349, but by December 2019, it was only selling for $43 used.

The brands that are the worst at retaining value in 2019 are as follows, Motorola which lost 59.41%, LG losing 56.76%, and Google which depreciated 51.68%. However, the phone that lost the most value of 2019 wasn't made by any of these three brands. That honor goes to Samsung, which saw the Galaxy S10+ (opens in new tab) drop $373 in value over the year. Surprisingly, the Galaxy S9 lost less value in 2019, only dropping $109 for a 37.47% loss.

Besides Apple, the top five best brands at retaining value might surprise you. Taking the number two slot was Nokia with a 27.68% loss, followed by Sony with 31.30%, then HTC with 32.01%, and finally with a loss of 34.42% was Samsung at number five.

2019 Depreciation By Brand

Source: BankMyCell (Image credit: Source: BankMyCell)

If you're looking for something positive to take away from BankMyCell's report, think of it this way, as an Android user, you can pick up a great flagship made within the past two years for a fantastic price. However, if you're looking to invest in a phone with the best trade-in value, Android phones are riskier. Even one of Samsung's latest flagships can drop significantly in value in only one year. If you want to hold on to value, though, buy an iPhone.

Jason England
  • If they are not supported they are not valuable. That is one good thing about iphone. Support. My good ole 6s is still fully supported by apple wish iOS updates. Until that goes away, it's a fully useable phone since all apps etc still work.
  • Agreed, I know a lot of people (especially older people) who want don't want to keep buying a new phone every 2 years, the phone they have works and does everything they need it to do, so the iPhone is perfect for them. It's fantastic to see that the iPhone SE has support for iOS 13 and it still runs fast on that phone, plus you get the 3D touch support as Apple changed it so it doesn't require the hardware functionality. I can't think of another mainstream phone that has the same size profile as the iPhone SE which is still supported, that's a big thing.
  • yes. and supposedly, it's getting 14 this year. Rumor has it that every phone running 13 will upgrade to 14. The se is a deadly phone for sure, but a little too small for me. Apple should have taken the se, and made it full screen. that would have been a seller for sure!
  • That would’ve worked well, same phone size but making the most of the screen, no notch either as a notch on a phone of that size would be pretty annoying