Samsung, Apple, Google or OnePlus: Surprising data shows which smartphones retain the most value

Ready to buy a Samsung Galaxy S21? Decluttr's report breaks down smartphone depreciation data by model and brand. It's surprising which ones boast the most value retention.

man-with-phone-in-hand.jpg

Image: iStock

A new smartphone can cost hundreds of dollars and many people choose to upgrade within a few years. A better understanding of a brand or model's depreciation could help consumers make more cost-effective purchasing decisions. Decluttr published its biannual report in January that focused on phone depreciation for many of the top makes and models. The report compares popular smartphone models from Apple, Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and Huawei.

The report states that all data related to the "Phone 12 and all Samsung models, excluding the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Samsung Galaxy Flip, is accurate as of January 2021" and that "all other models are accurate as of August 2020."

SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download  (TechRepublic Premium)

"It's important for consumers to keep in mind that timing is of the utmost importance when trading in their old mobile device to upgrade to a newer model. The value of their old devices can drop significantly following the release of a new model, particularly if there are significant upgrades to the technology and features," said Liam Howley, CMO of Decluttr via email.

"We've seen how the integration of new features such as 5G and improved cameras have previously impacted the value of older models, and we anticipate it will play a significant role with the S21. We'd encourage anyone planning to upgrade to trade-in their old device as quickly as possible to ensure they get the best possible return," Howley said.

A portion of the report ranks manufacturers by the amount of value their handsets have retained in the first year of release. Apple reigned supreme in this regard, with its phones losing 51% of their value in the first year. Samsung handsets lost 67% in the first 12 months, compared to Google's Pixels, which lost 69% of their total value, according to the report. Huawei and OnePlus handsets lost a similar percentage of their value (70% and 72%, respectively) in the first year, according to the report.

The report also ranks specific smartphone models by retained value over the course of one year. The iPhone XS Max topped Decluttr's rankings, losing 43% of its value in one year, and the iPhone XS ranked second, having lost 45% of its value in 12 months. The iPhone 8 Plus rounded out the top three, losing half of its value in one year, according to the report.

Both the iPhone XR and iPhone 8 lost 52% of their value in 12 months with the Google Pixel XL close behind (53%). The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus lost 55% and 57% of their value in one year, respectively. The iPhone X lost 58% of its value in one year and the OnePlus 7T depreciated 60% during this time span, according to the report.

"[The] iPhones take 8 of the top ten spots for retaining value in their first year of release, showing the brand's ability to hold value," said the release.

Decluttr also ranks phones with the lowest value retention after one year. The OnePlus 5 tops this list by a wide margin losing 91% of its value in 12 months, beating the runner-up (Google Pixel 2) by 14%, and the OnePlus 6 ranked third, losing three-quarters (75%) of its value in one year, according to the report.

"The OnePlus 5 was the poorest performing handset, losing a huge 91% of its value 12 months after release. This is followed by the Google Pixel 2, with a loss of 77%. No Apple handsets appear in this top 10 chart for loss of value," said the report.

Both the Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3XL lost 73% of their value in 12 months with the Google Pixel 2 Xl close behind (72%). The Samsung 8+, Samsung 10 5g, and Samsung 9 all lost 71% of their value in one year, and the OnePlus 6T lost 60% of its value in 12 months, according to Decluttr.

Also see