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Samsung Z Flip 6 trade-in deals are worse than ever: Confidence or complacency?

Samsung’s trade-in deals for its new foldables are a sign of the company getting too confident.

Published onJuly 10, 2024

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 screen on
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Samsung has finally launched its 2024 foldables, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6, and the launch has generated a mix of excitement and skepticism. Both devices bring only incremental upgrades to the table, but they also come with a $100 price bump compared to their predecessors. What’s more concerning, however, is Samsung’s decision to offer less attractive trade-in deals for the phones this year. This shift in strategy has made me wonder whether Samsung is becoming overly confident in its market position.

Samsung’s trade-ins are getting worse every year

Now, don’t get me wrong — the trade-in deals are fairly reasonable for someone looking to buy the phones themselves. For the Z Fold 6, you can get a trade-in discount of up to $1,200, which is consistent with previous years. However, for the Z Flip 6, the maximum trade-in discount is now limited to $650. While this may seem like a good value for a $1,100 phone, it pales in comparison to what Samsung has offered in the past few years.

For the past three generations, my wife has been a Z Flip user, and we’ve consistently upgraded by trading in her older model. The trade-in values were generous, often resulting in us paying less than $100 for the new phone. Samsung sweetened the deal even more with free protective cases and substantial discounts on the latest Galaxy Watch models. Last year, for instance, we snagged the new Z Flip, a new Watch, and a case for under $500. In 2022, the same package cost us under $300.

This year, however, the upgrade from the Z Flip 5 to the Flip 6 alone costs over $450. Plus, Samsung is offering only minor discounts on the Galaxy Watch 7 and the Galaxy Buds 3. Considering the incremental upgrades across all these products, it’s safe to say we’ll be skipping the upgrade this year.

Is this confidence or complacency?

samsung galaxy z flip 6 hands on flexwindow all colors
Alex Walker-Todd / Android Authority

Samsung’s confidence can be partially attributed to the rising popularity of foldable phones. As more people become accustomed to seeing foldables in daily use, the initial worries about their durability and potential screen issues are diminishing. People are growing more comfortable with the idea of owning a foldable, and Samsung, being a major player in this space, is reaping the rewards.

A recent Counterpoint Research report suggested that sales of its new foldables could increase by 30% compared to last year, fueled primarily by new Galaxy AI features. Samsung devoted a considerable amount of time during its event showcasing these features, but most of them are not entirely new, and they won’t remain exclusive for long. Google’s Pixel lineup already boasts its own AI capabilities, Apple is following suit with iPhones, and even older Samsung phones will receive many of the same Galaxy AI features through updates.

Perhaps Samsung’s confidence stems from the limited competition in the foldable market. To be fair, the Galaxy Z Flip is the only flagship flip phone worth buying for most people in the US. While Motorola has been releasing flip phones, I think they consistently fall short of the Z Flip series in various aspects. Many Chinese flip phones offer superior hardware but are unavailable in most regions.

In the book-style foldable category, the Pixel Fold and OnePlus Open have finally given Samsung’s Z Fold series some competition. Still, that hasn’t deterred Samsung from launching the Fold 6 with a three-year-old camera system and a design that trails behind almost every 2024 Chinese foldable.

Samsung is reportedly working on a slimmer, ‘Ultra’ version of the Z Fold 6, but I have no confidence in that device coming out anytime soon. We can only hope that this year’s Pixel Fold and OnePlus Open 2 will take the fight to Samsung and offer us some much-needed innovation.

It’s understandable why Samsung is complacent — it’s still selling enough foldables to justify its defensive approach. However, I wish Samsung would strive to stay ahead of the competition rather than relying on its global availability and brand power to maintain sales.

All I can say for now is that I won’t be purchasing Samsung’s latest foldables this year. While this might be a small gesture, I hope it sends a message that consumers expect more from the company, especially in the category that’s meant to be the bleeding edge of consumer tech.

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