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iPhone holds value better than do Samsung phones -- analyst

The current models of the iPhone have a better resale value than do various versions of Samsung's Galaxy phones, says analyst Gene Munster.


Android may be outpacing Apple at new sales, but the iPhone seems to be the better bet in terms of resale value. At least, that's according to new data from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Surveying the recent resale market, Munster found that Apple hung onto its value in the U.S. better than did certain Samsung devices.

Over the four months from April through July, the iPhone 5 dropped 3.75 percent in value, while the iPhone 4S dropped 11.85 percent. The iPhone 4 jumped in value by 10.3 percent. In contrast, Samsung's Galaxy S3 lost 27.3 percent of its value, while the Galaxy Note 2 fell by 35.5 percent.

The situation was similar in China. Since the start of April, the iPhone 5 dropped 7.2 percent in resale value, the iPhone 4S fell by 14.3 percent, and the iPhone 4 grew by 1.4 percent. The value of Samsung's Galaxy S4 fell by 14.3 percent, the S3 by 24.1 percent, and the Note 2 by 23.6 percent.

Munster's information doesn't provide a complete picture of the resale market as it's based solely on eBay sales in the U.S. and Taobao sales in China. But assuming the stats are indicative of the overall market, what do they mean for Apple and Samsung?

In China, the iPhone 5 has retained a better value than the Galaxy S4 despite the fact that Android is the dominant mobile platform in the country. As such, "Apple appears to be maintaining mindshare in the high end market," according to Munster.

A rapid drop in the resale price for the iPhone would be a sign that customers are either waiting for a new model or jumping ship to the Galaxy. Instead, people aren't necessarily delaying iPhone purchases in favor of a new version, a trend that Munster believes was seen in the 31.2 million iPhones sold last quarter.

Ahead, though, iPhone resale prices are likely to continue to drop in anticipation of the iPhone 5S, which is expected to debut toward the end of September.

To obtain the resale data, Munster monitored eBay auctions and Taobao prices for the three current iPhone versions, the Galaxy S3, and the Note 2 since March 15. The analyst would look at the last 50 phones sold to determine a fair resale value for each one.