Want To Sell Your Next Phone? It’s Not Worth It Unless It’s An iPhone

Want To Sell Your Next Phone? It’s Not Worth It Unless It’s An iPhone

Your brand new car starts losing value the second you drive it off the dealer’s lot – that an old (and very true) addage. Like a new, a new piece of technology begins to lose value or depreciate as soon as you leave the store. With cars and with major tech purchases like a new iMac, this isn’t an immediate source of pain or dismay since you’ll be using them for at least a few years.

When it comes to smartphones and other mobile devices like our iPhones and iPads, depreceiation and loss of dollar value is equally true. The big difference is that most of us don’t hold to them for nearly as long.

If you’re in the habit of passing your iPhone or other mobile device onto friends or family members, that may not matter too much. But what if you’re looking to recoup some your investment?

Priceonomics, a site that helps people determine fair value for almost anything from cars to baby strollers, has some answers as well as some purchase tips when looking considering a new smartphone.

Priceonomics has been compiling a pricing guide for mobile phones and recently used that data to determine not just the value of many used models but also their rates of depreciation or how quickly smartphones lose their resale value. The packaged all that data into a report that is good news for iPhone owners and not so good news for owners of every other platform.

They did this by taking the new purchase price of each phone on its release day (without any carrier subsidies asscoaited with a new contract) and comparing that to its current average used price. Priceonmoics did this will all iPhone models, 70 popular Andrdoid handsets, and 30 common BlackBerry devices and seperated out phones based on age (new through four years old).

The results dramatically show iPhones holding notbly more resale value. After 18 months, an iPhone will be worth 53% of its initial price while Android and BlackBerry devices will only be worth an average of 42% and 41% respectively.

Want To Sell Your Next Phone? It’s Not Worth It Unless It’s An iPhone

Breaking the numbers out based on hardware cost per month based on initial price and average resale price shows the iPhone with a per month hardware cost of $13.20 compared to Android’s 40% higher cost of over $18.

Want To Sell Your Next Phone? It’s Not Worth It Unless It’s An iPhone

Even extending the age of the phones out to four years shows the iPhone with higher resale values.

Want To Sell Your Next Phone? It’s Not Worth It Unless It’s An iPhone

The report offers some tips if you want to maxmize the potential resale value of a new phone including not opting for larger storage capacities as these don’t impact the ultimate resale value significantly and noting that it’s cheaper to buy a phone on contract and then pay an early termination fee than it is to buy a contract-free device.

One surprising tidbit about Android phones is that inexpensive models that are sold with pre-paid plans actually maintain more resale potential than more expensive and feature-filled models sold on contract.

The full report is really worth checking out since it includes a lot of interesting stats including some geographic breakdowns. Of course, it’s also worth hitting up the Priceonmics site to see the value of any phones you currently own. The site also includes a tablet price guide useful for iPad owners planning to upgrade when the iPad 3 hits.

Although the information in the report and pricing guides are consumer-oriented, they can be useful to businesses looking to maximize value on bulk mobile device purchases.

  • iAidan

    iPhones cost much more to own due to apps, ive got a 15 pound bill every month from my iPod Touch alone.

  • MWinNYC

    I bought my 3GS for $199 and sold it 2 yrs later for $160 on Gazelle.  I could have got much more for it if it was jailbroken.

  • gcarlin71

    I really hate being one of people who correct spelling, but – – (without any carrier subsidies asscoaited with a new contract) – – asscoaited ?

  • Josh702

    When the 4s came out, I sold my day one 4 for $240 on this site I found Friendly-Wireless.com – I live in Vegas so it was nice to sell it and go pick up the cash but they have the option to ship to them too.

  • barbudo

    It’s “adage,” not “addage.”

  • al friede

    that’s a double typo – not a misspelling mr. pedantic!

  • sn0wball

    i bought my iphone for 749$ and sold it for 620$ a year later. yeah, factory unlocked. I never do contract

  • Harvey Lubin

    Yeah, don’t you just hate it when Apple reps come to your house and force you to buy all those expensive apps at gunpoint?

  • iAidan

    Well you clearly have not got the point.

  • Tuscanie Ngwena

    do you get data on your factory unlocked iphone if you are not on ATT contract? I’m om ATT with no contract, and i can’t get data because my 3GS is network locked.

  • sn0wball

    yes i get data, mine isnt network locked.

  • Callum Mackay

    I think he hit the nail right on the head. Stop buying so many useless apps, or don’t complain. Jeez.

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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