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 / Android Central)

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.

Best Places to Buy or Sell a Used Phone in 2020

  • It's 100 percent because Android OEM's are not and do commit to longer updates including Pixel. All "Flagship" midrange and other Android should be updated for 5 years minimum. One can buy a 300 dollar Chromebook that will get 6-8. This throw away, update all the time BS for mobile phones needs to stop immediately. Come on Android OEM's step up your game!!
  • I'm not an 🍎 fan but 5yrs of updates, that's why their resale is high. So if you purchase the Samsung Ultra, 14oo.oo bucks plus tax & a case & 2yrs of updates, what huh? Is it worth that kind of moo-la, heck no? Within 60 days rest assured a 2to3 hundred drop in price. So what happens to the early adopters? Their penalized for pre-ordering?
  • Sure... you can pick up a 70% depreciated flagship Sammy Android after two years. But you'll have zero OS updates available with one year's of monthly security and two years of quarterly updates coming your way. For some in the real world... that just might 'work'.
  • Sales are high on apple devices beacause they dont have any competition in ios. Lets say lg, sony, samsung etc etc made ios devices prices would be low, competition.
  • My solution to this conundrum is to buy and use a new Android budget phone until it breaks with no intention of trying to resell it...
  • I don't resell phones, I see if any friends or family need a phone and give my old phone to them. I still have a working Pixel 2 XL as a backup device.
  • Yep. Sounds about right. And yay Nokia!👍👍
  • Other comments... OS upgrades? I agree it's terrible, OS support, on Android, but who cares? I'm running Android 9 and missing out on nothing. Only a small number of enthusiasts upgrade their phones often. Flagship phones don't need upgrading... They can easily go five years and you are missing out on nothing. But I'll single out Samsung... Shame on Samsung for asking $2100 Canadian for a phone, the 512GB ultra S20, and committing to just two years of future OS updates.... Regardless of the fact OS upgrades mean almost nothing in 2020. What passes for an OS upgrade in 2020 is far different than an OS upgrade in 2009.