Yesterday, Samsung unveiled the latest version of its flagship smart phone, the Galaxy S6, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But in anticipation of the launch, not all existing Samsung phone owners were sitting still; many went to eBay to unload their current devices while they still lead the pack and can command a better price. According to eBay, "in the 10 days after the Samsung S6 announcement event invitations went out to press on February 2, the number of Galaxy S5 models sold jumped nearly 65% on eBay, and the average selling price (ASP) rose nearly 30%." This data was based on Galaxy S5 eBay US Marketplaces data pulled before and after official event invites issued between January 23 - February 1 and February 3 -12.
There's a noteworthy contrast here which may define how Samsung and Apple smartphone owners view their devices. After the official Apple iPhone 6 invites were sent out on August 28, the average selling price of the 5S and 5C dropped only 3% from the following 10 days and the number of units sold stayed the same (within a matter of +/- .5%). This data was based on Apple 5S, 5C eBay US Marketplaces data pulled before and after official event invites issued between August 18 - 27, 2014 and August 29 - Sept. 7, 2014.
How to explain the disparity between Samsung and Apple owner reactions? It seems apparent that Galaxy S5 owners were more willing to unload their devices in anticipation of the S6 and prospective customers were willing to pay an increase. As the iPhone 6 approached, most Apple owners decided to hold onto their devices and those who sold them did so for a small decrease in price.
It's up for speculation, but what I think it boils down to is more of preference for variety across models in the Samsung crowd, some choosing to opt for the new unreleased device and others happy to stick with the current released model and pay what they needed to get it. Apple owners were more conservative and also more resistant to change - but I don't mean that in a bad way. In my view, the mindset there was "Why mess with a good thing?" Individual intentions and responses will vary, of course.
Sales data in advance of a new product announcement can provide us with interesting insights into how current models are viewed and how new advances are anticipated. Now that the Galaxy S6 has launched, we'll revisit the topic to see how the event will affect the average selling price of previous models on eBay and compare that data to the numbers involved with the iPhone 6 event this past September.
Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.