Smartphone resale values explained: HTC

Chase Bonar
 from Winter Springs, FL
Published: February 15, 2013

 

HTC is planning to launch their successor to the One X and One X+ this coming Monday. If you like to buy and sell smartphones to have the latest, your HTC smartphone is on the verge of becoming an expensive paperweight. In my experience of buying and selling smartphones, your best bet is to sell as soon as the rumors emerge. But in case you haven't sold your HTC smartphone, here's my two cents on the matter.

I consider myself a relatively tolerant person. Online, I try my hardest not to have an ego and express myself in a logical fashion. After all, there's no reason to think that I'm any different than the next guy sitting behind his six year old white 13-inch MacBook with a dead battery.

However, some things cannot go unnoticed. There's really only one thing that sets me off as much as a tailgater and that's people on Craigslist who think their phone is worth its weight in unobtainium.

Unless you've got LeBron James' custom Samsung Galaxy Note II; then it's probably worth it.

I foresee myself becoming a bit less understanding in the next six months for three reasons: HTC's announcement of their M7/One, Samsung's unpacked event where they'll spill the beans on the Galaxy S IV, and Apple's announcement of the iPhone 5S. I've got relatively high hopes for all these handsets but until then, quit thinking your smartphone is worth 90% of its retail value.

Don't even try to convince me.

There's an exception to my rant and that is if you have an Apple product. Before you call me a fanboy, do a quick Google search of "Apple resale value" or "iPhone 5 resale value court." If you find one result that doesn't suggest they hold their values better than competing handsets, I'll back off.

It's no secret than Apple products hold their value better than any other smartphone. In my experience, when you're within 2 to 4-months of a device's launch, an Apple product can fetch upwards of 75-85% of its retail value. Take a step back and tell me one other smartphone (that isn't made by Apple), car (that isn't a Honda or Ferrari), or animal (that isn't a unicorn) that offers a rate of return that high. It hurts to say it but I'm confident that any Apple product (for the time being) is the best device to buy and turn a profit. And if you pre-order an iPhone and there are supply shortages, you'll turn a huge profit.

As always, there's an exception to what I call the "Apple Rule" and that is iPhone handset refreshes that bear an "S." I believe "S" is short for sucker but I could be wrong. Anyway, I've bought and sold iPhones and have only wound up at a loss once. I'm not saying your iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S, or iPhone 5S won't be worth what you're asking. I'm just saying it's hard to explain the differences between your iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S since the hardware is nearly the same to the naked eye.

However, Android handsets are a whole different story. They're relatively easy to sell if you are okay with taking a loss. If you're looking to make a profit out of the 2 to 4-month window after the device is unveiled - good luck. The Apple Rule does not apply. I've sold a few HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung smartphones over the past few years. None of them maintain a consistent rate of return.

Now, onto the point of this post.

My condolences to those who bought any current flagship HTC device (One X, One X+, EVO 4G LTE, One S). Your pocketbook is about to be in pain. Serious pain. Out of all devices on Craigslist and eBay, HTC handsets hold their value the absolute worst. However, this is just in my experience. I urge you to negotiate with any potential buyer, just don't expect to get 75% of what the device is worth off-contract. Aim low and avoid disappointment by shooting for 50% of its value.

With the impending launch of the HTC M7/One, nearly every current generation hero device made in Taiwan might be worth 50% of it's value. In my experience, 30-50% is right about where the value of most HTC handsets get before they're succeeded.

If you're looking to pick up an HTC M7/One, sell your device within the next two weeks. Ideally, sell it right now if you have a backup phone.

I have gathered a sample group of smartphone values across the nation using Craigslist and eBay. Here are my results.

 

HTC One X+ (within 2 to 4-months of release)

- Retail: $524.50
- Average Market value: $430.00
- Gross margin: 78% of retail value
- Forecasted value in one month: 60%
- 60% of retail: $314.70
- Tip: To turn a profit, buy one if you can find one between 40-50% of its retail value and sell immediately.

HTC One X

- Retail: $490.00
- Market value: $335.00
- Gross margin: 68% of retail value
- Forecasted value in one month: 50%
- 50% of retail: $245.00
- Tip: Don't wait longer than a few days after we know when HTC's new hero device is announced to sell your One X. You'd be best to sell it now as the price has been stagnant for the past few months due to it already being succeeded by the One X+.

HTC One S

- Retail: $364.50
- Average Market value: $294.00
- Gross margin: 76% of retail value
- Forecasted value in one month: 40%
- 40% of retail: $145.80
- Tip: Sell now and do not get greedy. Due to it being a carrier exclusive device, it won't be worth much after HTC's announcement on 2/19.

HTC EVO 4G LTE

- Retail: $548.50
- Market value: $280.00
- Gross margin: 51%
- Forecasted value in one month: 40%
- 40% of retail: $219.40
- Tip: This is a unique device in that it has a kickstand and physical camera button. I'd recommend waiting no longer than one month to sell since it's already close to bottoming out in resale value.

Note: The average market values are based on data gathered from adhuntr.com and eBay.com. The average market values are pre-negotiation. Retail values are based on negrielectronics.com prices. I assume no responsibility for the success or failure of selling your smartphone. May The Force be with you.


If you're looking to pick up HTC's new hero device, good luck! It looks set to be an awesome handset. If you're trying to sell your (now old) HTC smartphone, let me know how I can help in the comments below. If you have any questions, ask away. I'm going to be monitoring these four handset's market values very closely over the next week. Thanks!

Image via HTCSource.

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