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A Study in Price Drops of Popular Smartphones

CoverSince the last 5 years, Samsung has remained on the top spot in India’s smartphone market. Their two of the most popular flagship series of phones, namely ‘Galaxy S’ and ‘Galaxy Note’ lineup has been pivotal in their rise. Both series of phones are popular globally with new successors launching once a year, just like Apple has been doing with the iPhone. Back in 2011, the Galaxy S series was  a worthy competitor against the iPhone. It was the easy choice if you needed a top-of-the-line Android smartphone.

Over the years, Samsung’s pricing for many flagships has been in line with how Apple prices their products. Each year, a new phone came at a launch price roughly Rs. 2,000 lesser than that of Apple’s new iPhone models. The Galaxy S2 came out in May 2011 for Rs. 32,500, while, in the same month, Apple had come out with the iPhone 4 Rs. 34,500. Jump to 2014, Samsung’s latest flagship — Galaxy S5 had gotten released in March for Rs. 52,000, while Apple’s flagship iPhone 5S had gotten released 4 months back for Rs. 53,500. A steady trend of pricing lesser than the latest iPhone can be observed here.

Evidently, Apple had released the new iPhone 6 in Oct 2014 for Rs. 53,500 — the same price at which iPhone 5S had gotten released a year ago. Samsung will be launching the Galaxy S6 on 1st March at Mobile World Congress. If they follow the Apple trend, then we expect the next Galaxy S6 to be priced roughly around Rs. 52,000, just the same as their older Galaxy S5 was. If at all they price higher than the iPhone 6, then we see their sales dipping low!

With each new phone launch, the older predecessor naturally gets a price drop. As you can see in the graph, Samsung’s price history suggests that they generallymake 30-40% drop of the original cost for their old phone, as soon as a new phone is launched. For example, The Galaxy S4 got a price drop from Rs. 45,000 to Rs. 30,500 (33%) when the Galaxy S5 came out after a year. If you’re patient enough and absolutely don’t need the latest, then waiting for 6-8 months to buy a flagship Samsung phone can save you a lot of money. So hold that plunge to buy it at a launch price!

All of Samsung’s older Galaxy S phones are still selling in online / offline stores. Samsung stops selling them officially, usually after a 3 year period with prices ending up between Rs. 17,000-22,000.

We tracked similar pricing patterns of flagships beginning from 2011 for all popular phone makers. Now that MWC 2015 is around the corner, this should help you decide how much you’ll need to spend on your next shiny smartphone. Or what good a deal you’ll get by buying its predecessor.

SAMSUNG

Galaxy S2 - S5

Key Insights:

  • Samsung’s next — Galaxy S6 might get priced around Rs. 52,000.
  • Each Samsung Galaxy S series phone came at a launch price around Rs. 2,000 lesser than that of Apple’s latest iPhone 16GB models.
  • Samsung drops around 30-40% of the original cost for their old Galaxy S series phones when a new Galaxy S model is launched.
  • After a year from the launch date, prices for all the phones in Galaxy S series have dropped and sold for Rs. 28,000 – 32,000.
  • Samsung officially stops selling old Galaxy S series phones usually after a 3 year period with prices ending up between Rs. 17,000-20,000.

Galaxy Note - Note 4Key Insights:

  • Samsung’s next — Galaxy Note 5 might get priced around Rs. 60,500.
  • Note 4’s price might drop to Rs. 43,000 after the Note 5 is launched later this year in Sept or Oct 2015.
  • Samsung drops roughly 20-25% of the original cost for their old Galaxy Note series phones when a new Galaxy Note model is launched
  • Samsung officially stops selling old Galaxy Note series phones usually after a 3 year period with prices ending up between Rs. 22,000-26,000.
  • Galaxy Note 3 and Note 4 came at a launch price of Rs. 5,000 greater than that of Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5 respectively.

SONY

Xperia Z - Z3

Key Insights:

  • Sony’s next — Xperia Z4 might get priced around Rs. 54,500.
  • Xperia Z3’s price might drop to Rs. 39,000 after the Xperia Z4 is launched later this year in March or May 2015.
  • Sony drops roughly 20-30% of the original cost for their old Xperia Z series phones when a new model is launched.
  • Sony officially stops selling old Xperia Z series phones usually after a 1 and a half year period with prices ending up between Rs. 23,000-26,000.
  • Sony has always priced their Xperia Z series phones a bit higher than rival Samsung’s Galaxy S series phones.

APPLE

iPhone 4 - 6 Plus

 

Key Insights:

  • Apple’s next iPhone 6S (if named that) might be priced around Rs. 56,500 and iPhone 6S Plus (if named that) might be priced at Rs. 66,500.
  • iPhone 6 price might drop to Rs. 42,500 and iPhone 6 Plus price might drop to Rs. 51,500 after the next iPhone is launched later this year in Oct-Nov.
  • Apple drops roughly 10-15% of the original cost for their old iPhones when a new model is launched.
  • After a year from the launch date, prices for all the iPhones have dropped and sold for Rs. 33,000 – 43,000.
  • Apple officially keeps selling the oldest iPhone model for prices below Rs. 20,000.

LG

LG G - G3

Key Insights:

  • LG’s next — G4 might get priced around Rs. 55,500.
  • In 2014, LG’s G3 was the only flagship smartphone to be priced below Rs. 50,000.
  • LG has been dropping roughly 20-30% of the original cost for their old G series phones when a new model is launched.
  • After a year from the launch date, prices for all the phones in G series have dropped and sold for Rs. 33,000 – 36,000.
  • LG officially stops selling old G series phones usually after a 2 year period with prices ending up between Rs. 25,000-27,000.

HTC

HTC One - One M8

Key Insights:

  • Our estimation tells us that HTC’s next — One M9 might get priced a shade under  Rs. 50,000. Although trends suggest otherwise, we believe that won’t be the case as HTC’s most recent introductions in the high-end, namely the One M8 Eye and the Desire Eye, were priced modestly (under Rs. 40,000).
  • Generally speaking though, HTC’s price drops have been inconsistent to derive a conclusion.
  • They stop selling phones or introduce new variants at an unpredictable speed.
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Kushang Dholakia

He's an Associate Editor for PriceBaba.com. He whips up slick graphics and brings professional video editing & direction skills to PriceBaba videos. He is currently happy with his Moto X 2014 running on Android 5.0 Lollipop. Follow him on Twitter @ArrestedThinker

One Comment

    • Abhijit
    • February 21, 2015

    Nice article. Any insight on how a typical phone shopper can figure out the best phone in a given price range that is priced lower than the competition given criteria such as battery life, screen etc?

    Also, do you see price drops before or around major buying cycles – near Diwali or Christmas?

    Reply

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