Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone in sunrise gold in a person's hand.

  • The smartphone trade-in market is unforgiving, with major drops in value not long after purchase.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S line is especially poor when it comes to long-term value.
  • However, there are always gold mines to find if you know where to look.


Many of us buy smartphones knowing that, within a year or two, we will resell that phone on the used market. Even if we decide not to sell it ourselves, we’ll likely trade it in when we buy an upgraded model.

BankMyCell just published a slew of new data pertaining to the smartphone trade-in market, including both Android and iOS devices. As one would expect, the data proves that smartphones lose a lot of their trade-in value a year after they launch. However, you might be surprised by just how much.

In the cases of last year’s major flagships, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, the phones’ overall values dropped by nearly 60 percent in just one year’s time. In other words, a buyer would have paid $720 for a new Galaxy S9 in March of 2018 but now that device would only earn them an average of $290 on a trade-in.

BankMyCell

What’s more, smartphone trade-in values drop as soon as you “drive it off the lot,” so to speak. Within the first month of opening your brand new Galaxy smartphone, it loses about 42 percent of its original retail value when it comes to trades.

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This is comparatively worse than the trade-in values for iPhones. The iPhone X, for example, launched at a retail price of $999, but by the time the iPhone XS rolled around its value dropped to $690, or by nearly 31 percent. That’s about half as much of a drop as the Galaxy S9 experienced over a similar length of time.

BankMyCell builds its data off various trade-in values offered by different companies and then delivers an average. It’s important to note this because some companies will offer exceptional trade-in deals that will up the value of any given phone substantially. For example, Samsung is giving $550 worth of trade-in credits for the Samsung Galaxy S9 right now if you put it towards a Samsung Galaxy S10. That’s twice as high as what BankMyCell claims here, and also over $100 more than what most sellers are asking for the device on Swappa.

In other words, it pays to shop around when it comes to smartphone trade-in values.

Click here to see all the data BankMyCell has when it comes to trades.

NEXT: Why you should (and why you shouldn’t) buy a used smartphone

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