Just like a new car starts to lose value the second you drive it out of the dealership, phones start to depreciate as soon as you take them out of the box - and some depreciate in value much faster than others.
Our Annual Phone Depreciation Report uses our own trade-in data to compare the values of the most popular iPhone, Samsung phones, Google Pixel, OnePlus and Huawei phones, for three years from the date the device was launched, creating a definitive guide to phone depreciation.
We’ve crunched the numbers to help you reduce the amount of money you lose from depreciation and help you make smarter choices for the environment too.
From trade-in data we can see which phone brands retain their value the best - and it’s good news for iPhone fans, as Apple continues to hold the top spot.
On average, iPhones lose 46% of their value in the 12 months after they are released and 64% by the end of a standard 24-month contract period.
Samsung phones lose an average of 68% of their value in the 12 months after launch, a figure that rises to 77% after 24 months.
OnePlus phones lose 77% of their value on average after 24 months, and Google phones lose an average of 82% in the 24 months after their release, beating Huawei at 88%.
In recent years, we’ve seen that the most expensive smartphones now regularly exceed the £1,000 mark. However, our research found that while prices are increasing, phones worth over £600 when released generally retain their value better than the less expensive models.
There are some exceptions, though, with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 losing 73% of its value in the six months after its launch.
Of all the phones released from 2019 onwards, the iPhone 12 Pro again retained its value the best in the six months after its release, losing just 32%.
The OnePlus 7, which cost just £549 on release, lost almost double this at 60%.
Of the phones costing £949 or more, the average amount lost in the first six months is 49%. This figure is heavily skewed by Samsung’s Flip and Fold range, however; removing the Fold and Flip from the equation brings the average amount lost down to 43%, the lowest depreciation loss of all price brackets. Phones with a release value of £600-£899 lost on average 48% and phones costing £599 or less lost 53% six months after release.
The value of phones over £949 dropped by 59% over a year. Again, this figure is heavily influenced by the high depreciation rate of the Samsung Z Flip and Fold series - removing them from the calculation brings that figure down to just 51%, the lowest depreciation rate over 12 months. £600-£899 priced phones also dropped by 51%, while phones worth £599 or less dropped by 64%.
The 10 phones which held the most of their value at 12 months are all iPhones - making them the better investment for people who are likely to trade their device back in every year to upgrade.
The iPhone 11 has held onto its value the best, depreciating by 38% in the first 12 months. The iPhone 8 Plus took 2nd place with a loss of 41%, while the iPhone 7 and iPhone 13 share 3rd with a loss of just 43%.
The OnePlus 7T and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G+ are the best performing non-Apple phones, losing 54% and 55% of their value respectively in their first 12 months on sale.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G was the worst performing phone in our 2021 report, losing 84% of its value in the first year. The Galaxy Z Flip and Google Pixel 3a XL were the next worst performing phones, losing 83% and 81% of their value respectively after just 12 months. In all, Samsung’s Flip and Fold series account for 6 of the top ten worst depreciating phones.
Apple’s worst performing model was the iPhone SE 2020, which lost 57% of its value 12 months after launch.
We know that the longer you wait to trade-in your device, the less you are going to receive for it. New releases also impact the value of your phone so if you are planning to upgrade, it’s important to trade-in your phone as soon as possible, rather than hanging on to it. We offer a 21 day price guarantee, so you can lock in your price while you’re waiting for your new phone to arrive.
The launch of a new iPhone almost always leads to the value of its predecessors dropping. The release of the iPhone 11, for example, saw the value of the iPhone XS drop by 19% after a month and 30% after 3 months.
There are signs that newer models are holding on their value slightly better, although the general trajectory is downwards. On average, iPhone models lose 4% of their value one month after launch, and 7% in the three months after launch.
“Our data shows that trading in your old device as soon as you upgrade is the way to get the best value from it, which can then be used to help fund the purchase of an upgrade or to be spent as you please. Our trade-in offers are valid for 21 days, giving people time to ensure their new device has arrived before they send their old one to us.
By regularly holding on to unused devices, people are losing out on the value they hold, which adds up to a considerable sum over time.”
Steve Oliver, musicMagpie CEO
Unused mobile phones and other tech devices which aren’t traded in or recycled responsibly can end up in landfill, where they cause all kinds of environmental issues.
This problem may get worse if people aren't trading in their phones as soon as they upgrade, as phones are more likely to sit in drawers losing their value and becoming obsolete the longer they are left unused.
Trading in your old phone as soon as you get a new one will not only help tackle the growing e-waste issue but it will also mean you get a better price for your old phone. See how much money you can earn from trading your old tech today with musicMagpie. Buying refurbished can help protect the planet too, so check out our range of refurbished phones and refurbished iPhone too.
To create our Annual Phone Depreciation Report, we use our own trade-in data to look at the trade-in values of the most popular handsets from Apple, Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and Huawei for 36 months from their launch date. The data was based on musicMagpie’s ‘good’ trade-in prices on unlocked phones. The storage capacity on the devices we analysed was based on popularity - we used the most common variant against each generation.
The estimated drop in the value of iPhones after a new model is released was calculated using the average drop in the value of the new model’s predecessors after new releases from 2018 and onwards.