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Got a new phone for Christmas? Expert reveals best time to hand in your old one for most value

Research suggests second year of owning a smartphone is the best time to cash in

Image source: 4gadgets

According to 4gadgets’ Smartphone Index, second year of owning your mobile phone would be the best time to trade it in to get the most money for it.

By analysing launch prices of Apple’s and Samsung’s most popular models, how much they’d cost if they launched in 2023, what to expect to recoup if you sold them in today’s market and how much mobile phone prices have risen relative to average UK salaries, 4gadgets has been able to determine how well they hold their value as an investment and how long you should hold on to them before selling.

When is the best time to sell your phone?

On average, the second year of owning the device is the best time to cash in. That way you’ll maximise the amount you can get to put towards that latest, awe-inspiring piece of tech.

Digging into data from 2018 to 2022, 4gadgets Smartphone Index found:

  • Apple iPhone models launched in these years have depreciated on average by 53% – current 2023 value vs. against the launch day price
  • Samsung mobile phone models launched in the same period depreciated on average by almost 70% – current 2023 value vs. against the launch day price

Comparing four of the last five year’s models, Samsung’s lost resale value by a greater amount than Apple’s:

  • 2018 was the exception, but by the smallest of margins
  • Looking at 2023 resale values, the Samsung Galaxy S9 has depreciated by 80% against its launch price
  • iPhone XS has depreciated by 80.2% against its launch price

The greatest difference in loss of second-hand value between the two brands occurred with 2021’s models:

  • iPhone 13 has fallen in value by 38% when comparing its 2023 value against its launch day price ticket
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G has fallen by nearly 70%

Lubomir Teres, eCommerce Expert at 4gadgets, gave 5 expert recommendations on when to hand in your old phone: “The landscape of the smartphone market is ever-changing, and trade-in values often vary due to a range of factors. To help you in making the most of your smartphone trade-in, here are some expert recommendations to keep in mind.

1. After the New Model’s Release: Typically, the value of a smartphone starts to drop after a newer model is released. So, if you’re looking to trade in your phone, it might be a good idea to do so shortly after the new release launch. Based on our Smartphone Index, Apple trade in usually spikes by 100% within the first 2 months after the new model launch, which suggests it is the most preferred time people trade in their devices.
2. Before a New Release: If you’ve heard rumours or seen announcements about an upcoming phone model, you might want to consider trading in your phone before the new model’s release. This is because the value of your current phone may decrease once the new model becomes available.
3. During Promotional Periods: Companies like ourselves often run promotions around certain times of the year, such as during holiday seasons or back-to-school periods. These promotions might offer better trade-in values or deals on upgrading to a newer model.
4. Condition of Your Phone: The condition of your phone will also play a role in its trade-in value. If your device is in good condition with minimal wear and tear, you might get a better trade-in offer.
5. Personal Preference: Ultimately, the best time to trade in your phone will also depend on your personal needs and preferences. If you’re satisfied with your current device and don’t feel the need to upgrade immediately, you might choose to hold onto it for longer.

In conclusion, the optimal time to trade in your phone depends on a combination of factors. Whether you decide to capitalize on new releases, take advantage of promotional offers, or consider your own usage patterns, being informed about these factors can help you make a well-timed and financially savvy decision.”