Average US trade-in value for smartphones increases for fifth consecutive quarter

Quarterly research of smartphone trade-in market reveals sustained rise in value of pre-owned devices in US over three-month period to 30 June 2023, with iPhones reaching their highest recorded value of $215

With 5G a catalyst for driving smartphone upgrades over the past year, the latest smartphone tracker from Assurant has found that the market showed only small increases in value during the second quarter of 2023.

Assurant’s latest quarterly Mobile trade-in and upgrade industry trends report outlines the top smartphones turned in during the quarter, the average age of devices at trade-in, as well as data on online trade-ins and wearable trade-ins.

The topline findings of the report revealed a total of $872m was returned to US consumers through trade-in and upgrade programmes in the second quarter of 2023, not very different to the first quarter’s $865m. It also revealed that the average trade-in value of smartphones reached $135 during the second quarter of this year, up from $126 in the first quarter of 2023.

Drilling deeper, the report found that the top five traded devices were the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone XR, iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max, with 5G-capable devices making up 34% of the list, a rise from 29% in the previous quarter. iPhones reached their highest recorded value of $215 during the second quarter of 2023.

Assurant’s data highlights the continued rise in value of pre-owned devices. In the first quarter of this year, it reported that the average trade-in value of iPhones surpassed the $200-mark for the first time since the third quarter of 2021. Also surpassing the $200-mark for trade-ins was the Apple Watch Ultra, which had an average trade-in value of $208 for the second quarter.

In the world of Samsung, the study revealed that, for the first time, the Galaxy S21 was the most traded device, unseating the Galaxy S9 which held that position throughout 2022. 

The average age of devices at trade-in continues to rise, with the average age of all traded devices increasing by 6% to 3.56 years. The average age of iPhones increased by 4% to 3.55 years, while Android devices increased by 10% to 3.58 years.

Online trade-ins accounted for 16% of total trade-ins for the quarter, seeing a 15% year-on-year increase from the second quarter of 2022.

“With economic challenges affecting the mobile device market, new smartphone shipments have declined, resulting in a decrease of pre-owned smartphone inventory. Simultaneously, many consumers are now taking more interest in purchasing refurbished smartphones – whether that’s to make devices more affordable, or as a greener alternative to buying new,” said Biju Nair, president of global connected living and international at Assurant.

“As demand for these devices rises, carriers, retailers, cable operators and OEMs will be looking for ways to increase their used device inventories – and as such, we are seeing this reflected in the trade-in value. In fact, this is the fifth consecutive quarter where the trade-in values have risen,” Nair added.

“The secondary market continues to thrive, and trade-ins and upgrades will continue to be critical as these industry players overcome the macroeconomic hurdles they face, as a way to encourage sales, maintain customer loyalty, drive revenue and extend the life of pre-owned devices.”

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