Which tech goods depreciate the most? The answers will surprise you

Tech products lose value fast
(Image credit: Self Financial)

A new study has revealed how much value consumer items lose once they get to the hands of a consumer, who buys them. The study, by the Texas-based Self Financial, reveals that popular consumer products may lose up to a fifth (19%) of their value within just one year. 

Against this number, consumer electronics such as smartphones, headphones and smartwatches have lost more than double this over the last year. The depreciation stands at between 41% to 44% over the past 12 months, the research paper says.

The study, conducted in the United States, indicated that smartphones retained in October and November of 2020, lost an average 42.7% of their value within the next twelve months. In comparison, popular models that retailed in 2018 lost around 57% of their value and handsets from 2016 are now selling on eBay for just about 20% of their original retail prices. 

Cars carry value for the short-term

The study indicates the rapid pace at which the value of consumer gadgets reduces within the year. In fact, the data appears to be telling users that the products that we save up and await their latest models, are the ones that suggest a higher pace of depreciation in their value. 

"The ever-increasing flow of new products, accessories, and software updates inspires greater levels of purchasing but also a sharper drop in value," the study said. Another takeaway from the study is great deals on tech products can be had by waiting a year or so. 

Smartphones fall by 79.96% within 5 years. Smartwatches and headphones lose over two-fifths of their value within the first year, losing about half their value within three years. Laptops retailed in 2020 have lost nearly 23% of theory value, with computer monitors losing nearly a third (32.5%) in just a year. 

Games consoles lost over 27% of their value, with smart speakers (27%) and tablets (28%) also losing a quarter of their value in 1 year.

In a contrast, the popular cars in 2020 were revealed to have lost less than 20% (19.11%) of their value in 2021. But cars tend to lose a lot over a 5-year period. 

A press release from Self Financial said the study analysed the original retail prices of 22 popularly re-sold items against current prices on eBay. Taking a sample of the most popular products in each category, the analysis averaged how the value of items change and which see the sharpest drop in value.

The study also gives useful tips for both buyers and sellers.

Want to know about the latest happenings in tech? Follow TechRadar India on TwitterFacebook and Instagram!

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.