Samsung Galaxy S21 plummets to half its original value in 3 months


The Samsung Galaxy S21 series is not a good investment.
The recently released Samsung Galaxy S21 series drops in value as much as $281 a month.
Photo: Samsung

Those planning to resell their handset someday might want to steer clear of Samsung latest flagship models. The Galaxy S21 series reportedly lost between 44.8% and 57.1% of its original value since in debut in January 2021.

Of course, every smartphone depreciates over time. But iPhones hold their value better than their rivals.

The iPhone 12 series debuted in autumn 2020, and have since lost between 18.1% and 33.7% of their value, depending on configuration, according to SellSell. That’s probably something owners of these devices don’t want to know, but it’s at least less of drop than Samsung’s latest offerings. Even though Apple’s new models came out 2-to-3 months earlier.

Which Apple and Samsung phones best hold their value?

Of the new devices from Apple and Samsung, there’s a clear winner. “The iPhone 12 Pro Max 128GB holds it’s value the most vs. others in the range, with an 18.1% (3.6% per month) decrease in value since launch in October 2020,” said SellCell’s Steven Knight.

The best Samsung option for retaining value is the Galaxy S21+ 5G 128GB. But “best” might be the right term. “It has lost a shocking 44.8% (14.9 % per month) of its value since launch in January 2021,” said Knight.

Many Apple users might be surprised which of the new iOS handsets dropped in value the most. It’s the basic iPhone 12 64GB, which dropped 6.7% per month for a total of 33.7%.

The recently-released Samsung model that did worst at holding onto value is the Galaxy S21 5G 256GB. It’s dropping 19% per month, and has already lost 57.1% of its value just three months after launch.

Consider the whole cost of a phone

Many people prefer Samsung devices because they cost less. But it’s important to factor in the full cost of the purchase.

Take the Galaxy S21+ 5G 128GB. It cost $999 at launch but is dropping $149 in value a month. In 9 months or so, when the Galaxy S22 series comes out, it’s not likely to have retained very much value.

Now consider the iPhone 12 Pro 128GB, which also cost $999. It’s dropping in value $37 a month, according to SellCell. If this trend holds, a year after its debut it’ll still be worth $555 — more than half its original value.

So, after a year, the owner of the Samsung model would have to put down $999 for the equivalent new version, while a person with the Apple device would pay $444 for their new model. It’s clear which is the better bargain.

And not surprising that iPhone loyalty is up while increasing numbers of Galaxy users are considering other options.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.