Cyber Monday trade-in deals prove you should never recycle your old smartphone for free

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

Trading in your old smartphone while buying a new one isn’t rocket science. Many people get the new flagship every year, swapping in last year’s cutting-edge technology for half (or more) of the latest device. But two years after its launch, a popular Android phone strength you get $ 200 off, while a budget phone will be thrown right into the recycling bin. Three years later, it’s hardly worth bringing it to the store.

But 2021 has proven that old phones are a precious commodity. If you play your cards right, your lousy old phone could easily mark you a brand new phone.

Old phones are a precious commodity.

We first noticed this trend with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. Upon launch, AT&T offered the phone for $ 1,000 for free with a trade-in, although the market value of the traded-in phone was much lower. A $ 200 Moto G Power, a 4-year-old Galaxy S8, a 5-year-old iPhone 7 – these are all “worth” $ 1,000 at AT&T.

The logic behind illogical trades

The motive behind this business theft is obvious. Changing carriers is painful, and many people stay with the same carrier for years out of habit or laziness. A tempting trade on a sleek new phone can push people out of their complacency, giving an operator your business for the next decade. And if one carrier is as good as another at 5G coverage in your area, why not switch?

During Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, this trend of carriers only grew. If you wanted a Z Fold 3, you could get a maximum of $ 1,050, $ 1,300, or $ 1,600 in rebates and trade-in credit from T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon (respectively).

Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro stick together

The carriers just give out pixels like candy.Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

Want a brand new Pixel 6, the best Android phone of the year? You can pay $ 600 for it from Google, or get it for free (or at a very discounted price) from Verizon with the right trade-in. During Black Friday, I noticed that you could buy a discounted Galaxy A51 for $ 100 on Amazon and then hand it over to Verizon for $ 350 on the Pixel 6.

Carriers don’t really care about the real value of a trade-in phone. Right now, AT&T will give you $ 800 off the Pixel 6 Pro for a Galaxy S8, or $ 35 off the Pixel 6… for the same Galaxy S8. The same goes for Best Buy’s current Verizon deals on Galaxy S21 phones, where a Pixel 4a, iPhone X, or Galaxy A42 will all save you as much as a 2021 flagship: $ 800.

There is no rhyme or reason for this; carriers will improve or apply market value depending on the phone they’re trying to push. Even though Pixel 6 Pro stock is very low thanks to chip shortages, AT&T and Google really want this awesome flagship to sell out fast, and who are we to look a gift horse in the face?

Losing money to earn money

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Flip 3 with box

Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

It’s not just carriers that play the calling game. Until December 5, Samsung will be giving you an unlocked Z Flip 3 or Fold 3 for $ 100 / $ 250 off, with up to $ 650 / $ 900 in upgraded trade-in credit for the Flip or Fold. It is undoubtedly a a lot better deal than the ones above because it doesn’t offer an expensive unlimited plan or line upgrade with your phone.

Why is Samsung practically offering two intriguing and well-reviewed phones? Because Samsung wants to bring foldables to the mainstream and its mobile business is losing ground to Xiaomi, it needs an auction win more for its future growth than money.

People will happily spend a thousand dollars on a known and trusted brand – your Galaxy S21 or iPhone 13 Pros – but hardly anyone had used a foldable until this year. Now Samsung is reportedly shipping between 3.5 and 4 million Z Flip 3s by the end of 2021, thanks to its high quality and affordability.

Then there’s the Z Fold 3. It accounted for around 22% of Q3 2021 foldable sales, or around 610,000 units. But DSCC says it will drop to around 1.33 million sold in the last three months of the year. I promise you, there’s no way Samsung will come close to this level if everyone were to spend $ 1,800 on a phone, no matter how good a phone is.

User-friendly trade-in offers help increase sales of experimental phones that are too big to break down.

In the coming years, companies will launch more experimental phones that are too big to fail. Phones like the delayed Pixel Fold or Apple’s long-rumored foldable iPhone. Or even phones like the LG Wing, which made fail to sell despite a $ 750 trade-in offer from Verizon, shutting down LG’s smartphone business.

Like Samsung, these companies will need high sales to justify the years of work and millions of R&D costs spent on these phones. So don’t be surprised if they work with carriers to offer absurdly low discounts on foldable or rollable phones, in exchange for old phones that no one wants anymore.

Bide your time

Flex Holder for Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3

The Z Flip 3 won’t be the last innovative phone you can get “for free”.Source: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

Until recently, the trade-in value of Android phones was paltry, depreciating twice as fast as the value of iPhones. And it doesn’t take an analyst to figure out why: Even Android flagships have only received two software updates, making their longevity questionable.

The phones you buy today will give you a disproportionate return on your investment in a few years.

Now Android is in the midst of an update renaissance. Google is promising three operating system updates and five years of security updates for the Pixel 6 thanks to Google Tensor, and Google also plans to add Tensor to the Pixel 6a. Samsung is offering three operating system updates and four years of security updates for all of its phones, while OnePlus, OPPO and Xiaomi will do the same for their flagships.

Your new 2021 phone will retain more market value in a few years than older Android phones. Even a mid-range phone today could be a valuable trade-in in 2023-2024.

With popular brands fighting to stay relevant with risky and innovative phones, you’re likely to see more holiday seasons like this, where any old handset can give you a disproportionate return on your investment.

Therefore, if you replace your old phone with a new one without a great trade-in offer, i would say you should play the long game. Keep your old phone safe in a drawer for a year or two and wait for the right time to knock. If that doesn’t work, you can (and should) recycle it if no incredible deal emerges. But by spending $ 100 now, you could easily save a lot more down the road.

Leave a Comment