iPhone 6

Upgrading to the iPhone 6? How to Sell Your 5/5S at the Best Possible Time

The launch of the iPhone 6 is imminent.

And once the iPhone 6 launches, your iPhone 5S will be one phone among thousands left behind after an upgrade. Unsurprisingly, you can expect the resale value of your 5S to drop in response to how many used iPhones will flood the market.

We crunched data from eBay transactions. Based on this, we expect that the resale value of your iPhone 5S will drop about 20% over the months after the iPhone 6 comes out. To help you figure out if or when you want to sell, check out our handy-dandy charts which map the slow decline of your iPhone’s resale value.

1-Year Old iPhones

To start, we wanted to get as robust of a picture as possible to help predict what will happen to the price of your 5S, so we looked at both the prices for the 4S when the 5 came out and the prices for the 5 when the 5S came out.

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What is interesting about this graph is that it shows a pretty significant difference in price performance between the 4S and the 5. When the iPhone 5S came out, the value of the iPhone 5 dropped roughly 10% in the weeks leading up to availability and then was surprisingly stable for the following 3 months. In contrast, the iPhone 4S experienced a slower, but steadier, decline in the months following the announcement of the iPhone 5.

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It’s hard to say whether prices this year will follow the price history of the 4S or whether we can expect something more like the price performance of the iPhone 5. To play it safe, we averaged both the 4S and the 5 histories to try to paint a more coherent picture of what we expect to happen with the price of the 5S. Our data shows that you can expect the price of your 5S to drop by roughly 15% in the 15 weeks after the launch of the iPhone 6.

Judging by the slope here, it’s best to sell your 5S ASAP. That is, if you have a fallback phone to use between now and when you can get your hands on the 6, which might be weeks after the iPhone 6 announcement on September 9th.

2-Year Old iPhones

If you wait 2 weeks after the iPhone 6 announcement, you can expect your phone to drop in price a little under 10% in value. Luckily, the decline slows down after the 2 week mark, so if you haven’t sold by then, most of the damage has been done, and you can take your time.

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However, for all of those out there who are upgrading from the iPhone 5, this analysis is not perfect. We also ran the numbers on how the price of the iPhone 4S reacted to the launch of the iPhone 5S. This is a more direct comparison, because the 4S was 2 generations old when the 5S launched, just as the iPhone 5 is today.

The iPhone 4S dropped 30% in the same time period that a one generation old phone dropped 20%. We chalk this difference up to the 2-year carrier contract upgrade cycle, which implies more 2-generation old phones flooding the market and thereby have an outsized impact on the aftermarket price of these devices. That means if you’re thinking of upgrading from a 5 to an iPhone 6, you have a bit more reason to rush your sale.

Find your iPhone’s value

Now, all these percentages might not mean a lot unless you know what the actual value of your iPhone 5 or 5S is. Finding this out is actually super easy – we built a free iOS app that runs a quick 5-step diagnostic process to determine your phone’s condition and finds you its Fair Market Value. This price is what identical phones are selling for across multiple marketplaces, like Craigslist, eBay, and Kijiji.

Right now, an unlocked iPhone 5 16GB can sell for $396, or a 32GB iPhone 5S with Rogers can go for $567. Given what we know about past years, you can expect the price of that iPhone 5 to drop to $336 over the 15 weeks after the launch. The 5S will probably fair a bit better: we expect the price to drop to around $481 in the 15 week window.

Of course, the price you can get for your phone is dependent on a lot of factors like device condition, carrier, and size, plus it is sensitive to changes in the used iPhone market. Curious to see how much you could get for your iPhone right now? Download our app to find out!

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