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iPhones, Apple Watches top the list of mobile device trade-ins in quarter four

HYLA Mobile,  a  provider of software technology and services for mobile device returns management and reuse solutions, has announced results from its analysis of the mobile device trade-in market for 2020. And it was good news for those trading in iPhones and Apple Watches during quarter four.

Apple smartphones accounted for the top 5 devices traded-in for 2020. The top traded device of the year was the iPhone 7, followed by the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone 7 Plus.

The iPhone 7 was the top traded device for 2019 and three of the four quarters during 2020, falling to the fourth most traded device in Q4 behind the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X. This was likely due to strong iPhone 12 upgrade promotions when trading in an iPhone 8 or newer iPhone device, according to HYLA Mobile.

The average trade-in value for an iPhone in 2020 was $169.85, while the average trade-in value for an Android smartphone was $95.37. Overall, the average value of device at trade-in was $124.51.

HYLA Mobile’s annual report reveals a total of US$2.11 billion was returned to U.S. consumers in 2020 through mobile device trade-in programs. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic having a huge impact on the global smartphone and secondary device markets, as well as retail shutdowns, money returned to U.S. consumers via trade-ins fell by just 11% in 2020 (from $2.378 billion in 2019).

According to HYLA Mobile, quarter four (Q4), historically a strong quarter for mobile device upgrades and trade-ins, proved to be particularly resilient given market conditions. The Q4 trends report shows $786 million was returned to U.S. consumers via trade-ins—an increase of 38% over Q3 ($569 million). 

In 2019, a more typical increase of 19% from Q3 to Q4 was reported. Along with year-on-year growth, the Q4 report reveals the average trade-in value for a smartphone in Q4 was $138.16, a 14% increase from Q3 ($121.03), and a 23% increase from Q4 2019 ($112.27).

“2020 was a year that no one could have ever predicted, and it has been difficult for operators, retailers, and original equipment manufacturers to find their footing amongst the ever-changing ‘normal’. But given the impact of the pandemic on the smartphone market, the secondary device market has been strong,” says Biju Nair, EVP and president, Global Trade-in and Upgrades (HYLA). “Thanks to the trade-in promotions and availability of 5G-ready devices, the 5G upgrade and trade-in supercycle is already underway. Not only did we register a 175% increase of contactless trade-in transactions in 2020 over 2019, but we are seeing trade-in values staying strong as consumers look to get their hands on the latest devices,” said at Assurant Inc.

As part of its annual report, trade-in trends for wearables were also tracked. According to the data, Apple Watches had strong trade-in values during Q3 and Q4. Additionally, Series 5 watches and Series 3 watches were valued higher in October and November than in the first month of the year.

The highest-valued smartwatch at trade-in in 2020 was the Apple Watch Series 5 at $202.49, followed by the Apple Watch Series 4 at $128.70, the Apple Watch Series 3 at $66.68, the Apple Watch Series 2 at $39.24, and the Apple Watch Series 1 at $22.81.

the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the news editor of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.
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