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Lost Value: Household Products That Depreciate In Value Most

New models of our favorite products and brands generally get released every 6 to 12 months, making products that people have often saved up for soon out of date. This means often perfectly good items either go into the junk drawer or trash within a few years, and represent a significant loss of household value.

But how much can you get for your older items and which items keep their values the longest? We looked at 22 popular re-sold household items and analyzed the original retail price (RRP) of the top products in 2016, 2018, and 2020, and how much they are being sold for on eBay today (2021) - giving people an idea on which items are the biggest, and least, value losers.

Contents:

Products that lose the most value?

Products lose value and depreciate at different rates, with the most popular mobile phones in 2020 losing 42.7% of their value in just one year (2021). In comparison, the most popular cars being retailed in 2020 have lost just 19.11% of their value, making them an overall better financial decision.

Analyzing five of the most popular products from each category, we are able to reveal the average lost value - from original retail price to current resale price. The table below shows how much value has been lost (on average) for items bought each year.

How much value do products lose on average (%)? 

  2016 2018 2020
Product Categories Change from 2016 - 2021 (%) Change from 2018 - 2021 (%) Change from 2020 - 2021 (%)
Mobile phones 79.96% 57.14% 42.70%
Smartwatches 63.13% 51.42% 41.71%
Headphones 59.36% 49.61% 44.69%
Smart speakers 62.52% 49.59% 27.22%
Tablets 59.23% 51.25% 28.57%
TV Streaming devices 62.05% 35.05% 34.86%
Vacuum cleaners 64.99% 36.14% 24.65%
Microwaves 56.06% 43.10% 25.70%
Computers 54.88% 43.64% 24.53%
Computer monitors 59.24% 25.11% 32.50%
Baby strollers 41.34% 37.54% 36.99%
Laptops 42.47% 50.47% 22.90%
Shavers 41.92% 37.34% 36.18%
Straighteners 43.21% 41.55% 28.96%
Bicycles 27.67% 38.24% 37.97%
Handbags 43.68% 33.11% 21.58%
External hard drives 43.40% 27.63% 26.48%
Game consoles 37.27% 32.22% 27.79%
Hairdryers 31.92% 31.91% 27.99%
BBQs 18.65% 35.83% 29.75%
TVs 33.49% 20.49% 29.56%
Cars 33.00% 27.05% 19.11%

As the chart shows, the value for products (in most cases) steadily decreases over time, with items such as mobile phones losing 43% of their value in the first year, 57% in three years, and almost 80% in five years.

Similarly, smartwatches and headphones lose over two-fifths (40%+) of their value within the first year, with the most popular headphones retailed in 2020 losing nearly 45% of their value in just 12 months when reviewing eBay data.

It’s worth noting that many of the items, especially those within one year of their retail dates, are in good working order so for those looking to find good deals on popular items, holding back a while could be an excellent strategy to save money.

The most popular cars in 2020 lost less than 20% of their value of the past year, with the most popular cars retailing for an average of $38,003 in 2020 and the same models a year later (2021) retailing for $30,740.

How much value do products lose on average ($)? 

Unsurprisingly, the products we analyzed each have different initial monetary values.

The most popular cars, for instance, averaged a retail price of over $38,460 across the years analyzed, while the most popular hair straighteners between 2016 and 2020 retailed for just under $110; highlighting that the percentage drop can translate differently in total dollar change.

The tables below show the average original prices for each of the product categories in their respective year, the average used resale price today (2021), and the monetary change between them.

Product Categories Avg Original Retail Cost (2016) Avg Used-Resale Cost (2021) Avg Change In Value ($)
Baby strollers $149.95 $87.96 -$61.99
BBQ $145.73 $118.55 -$27.18
Bicycles (mountain/other) $2,245.79 $1,624.28 -$621.52
Cars $47,661.00 $31,934.00 -$15,727.00
Computer monitor $435.39 $177.47 -$257.92
Computers $1,050.39 $473.98 -$576.41
External hard drive $102.79 $58.18 -$44.61
Game consoles $379.99 $238.37 -$141.62
Hairdryers $131.99 $89.86 -$42.13
Handbags $152.60 $85.95 -$66.65
Headphones $159.99 $65.02 -$94.97
Laptops $1,323.73 $761.57 -$562.16
Microwave $198.39 $87.18 -$111.21
Mobile Phones $431.79 $86.54 -$345.25
Shavers $237.39 $137.87 -$99.52
Smart speakers $111.84 $41.91 -$69.93
Smart Watches $173.54 $63.99 -$109.55
Straighteners $47.59 $27.02 -$20.57
Tablets $492.73 $200.88 -$291.85
TV Streaming devices $145.79 $55.33 -$90.46
TVs $785.99 $522.79 -$263.20
Vacuum cleaners $480.99 $168.39 -$312.60
Product Categories Avg Original Retail Cost (2018) Avg Used-Resale Cost (2021) Avg Change In Value ($)
Baby strollers $307.99 $192.36 -$115.63
BBQ $199.59 $128.09 -$71.51
Bicycles (mountain/other) $3,959.00 $2,445.15 -$1,513.85
Cars $29,717.00 $21,679.76 -$8,037.24
Computer monitor $447.19 $334.91 -$112.28
Computers $1,169.99 $659.36 -$510.63
External hard drive $100.99 $73.08 -$27.91
Game concoles $375.79 $254.71 -$121.08
Hairdryers $127.99 $87.15 -$40.84
Handbags $46.33 $30.99 -$15.34
Headphones $239.79 $120.84 -$118.96
Laptops $1,211.60 $600.08 -$611.51
Microwave $167.99 $95.59 -$72.40
Mobile Phones $434.49 $186.21 -$248.28
Shavers $81.76 $51.23 -$30.52
Smart speakers $225.79 $113.83 -$111.97
Smart Watches $251.59 $122.23 -$129.37
Straighteners $95.19 $55.64 -$39.55
Tablets (iPads) $765.80 $373.30 -$392.49
Tv tops (fire stick etc) $131.99 $85.72 -$46.27
TVs $698.59 $555.42 -$143.16
Vacuum cleaners $383.19 $244.69 -$138.50
Product Categories Avg Original Retail Cost (2020) Avg Used-Resale Cost (2021) Avg Change In Value ($)
Baby strollers $359.99 $226.83 -$133.16
BBQ $118.70 $83.39 -$35.31
Bicycles (mountain/other) $2,755.60 $1,709.28 -$1,046.32
Cars $38,003.60 $30,740.09 -$7,263.51
Computer monitor $581.99 $392.83 -$189.16
Computers $1,565.79 $1,181.66 -$384.13
External hard drive $147.47 $108.43 -$39.05
Game concoles $329.99 $238.28 -$91.71
Hairdryers $28.51 $20.53 -$7.98
Handbags $48.94 $38.38 -$10.56
Headphones $135.25 $74.81 -$60.44
Laptops $608.35 $469.03 -$139.32
Microwave $213.99 $158.99 -$55.00
Mobile Phones $731.41 $419.08 -$312.34
Shavers $161.59 $103.13 -$58.46
Smart speakers $415.99 $302.74 -$113.25
Smart Watches $224.77 $131.01 -$93.76
Straighteners $186.39 $132.41 -$53.98
Tablets (iPads) $750.56 $536.12 -$214.44
Tv tops (fire stick etc) $75.99 $49.50 -$26.49
TVs $1,109.99 $781.86 -$328.13
Vacuum cleaners $500.99 $377.48 -$123.51

As the charts show, cars lose the most in terms of monetary value, with the top-selling cars in 2016 losing over $15,000 in value by 2021 and between 2020 and our analysis (2021) over $7,000. The most popular bicycles experience the second-biggest loss, with the average monetary values of the top bikes sold last year falling by over $1,000.

In comparison, hair dryers sold last year (2020) have lost an average value of less than $8, with handbags (non-designer) losing an average value of just over $10 in a year.

Maximizing the value

As our data shows, products, devices, and ‘assets’ all see different value changes; and it’s worth noting that our analysis could not account for the quality of products in each year or general consumer trends.

However, the data does indicate that many of the tech products people save up for and await the newest releases could be losing the most value. The ever-increasing flow of new products, accessories, and software updates inspires greater levels of purchasing but also a sharper drop in value.

As our data shows, sellers of mobile phones purchased three years ago (2018) have lost over half (57%) of the initial value at the time of purchase, with those that bought the likes of the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S20 estimated to have lost 42% of their value.

On the other hand, for those looking to buy tech, great deals can be had by waiting a year or so. Our average results of the most popular products showed that waiting a year for a new phone could save you $312, which could use to supplement savings or other necessary purchases such as food and clothing.

Tips For Sellers

To help those looking to sell products they no longer need, or are buying an updated version of, here are some ideas to help maximize the value of your assets:

Tips For Buyers

To help those looking to buy used products, here are ideas to help maximize your buying power and get the best value deal on used items:

Methodology:

To perform the analysis of the lost value of some of the most commonly bought and resold products, we analyzed 22 items categories commonly sold on resale sites to reveal the value lost when buying new items, identifying the percentage (%) and monetary ($) value lost on average.

Using the 22 product categories, we used archive categories and product pages (from 2016, 2018, and 2020) of retail sites such as Walmart, Amazon, BestBuy, Cars.com, and Bicycles Online, using their “most popular” search filters to identify the ‘top’ products for each year.

A sample of five “most popular” retail products for each category was then collated, along with their retail prices; to provide an original retail value.

These products were then searched for on eBay (2021), checking for year and model numbers/identifiers, to collate a sample* of current and recently sold listings, recording the average price these items are selling for.

Our analysis of the data then compared the original retail price with the current re-sale prices.

*Where possible, five samples for each product category were taken. However, in some instances, this figure was reduced due to the availability of the correct models.

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