If you’ve never heard of the term 'unboxing', it’s quite simply the practice of filming yourself opening something and sharing the video on the internet. Simple, right? In principle, it seems like an easy win for marketers wishing to cash in on this trend. Looking at the statistics, helpfully pulled together in this infographic, it’s clear that this is a trend marketers shouldn’t ignore.
How popular are unboxing videos?
In order to stand out in the ever-growing unboxing world, many companies are now taking off the wall approaches to try and capitalise on the unboxing trend. Samsung’s campaign before the launch of its Galaxy S7 smartphones was called ‘Seven Days of Unboxing’, and featured, among other things, a llama. When LG released their G5 smartphone they brought together two things the internet loves - puppies and unboxing videos - by featuring puppies ‘unboxing’ their newest phone. Other notable examples from the mobile phone world include a video of someone unboxing a new mobile phone while being flown in a fighter jet, and also an underwater unboxing of a waterproof mobile phone.
Who is watching them?
Children make up a large majority of the viewers of unboxing videos. The third most watched YouTube channel belongs to children’s unboxer ‘FunToyzCollector’. Parent blogger Rachel, who writes Coffee, Cake, Kids, believes they are so popular because, “…every time it’s a surprise. They tune into a child’s natural curiosity to see what’s in the box. The few videos I have watched are all very bright and colourful, which of course attracts young children.” Rachel goes on to comment about why she believes they are also so popular with parents of young children. “They’re relatively easy to find, generally safe for kids to watch and when you need five minutes’ peace to go and make the dinner, they’re perfect for keeping them amused.”
At the time of writing, Toys “R” Us have 47 unboxing videos. Quick to capitalise on the attraction these videos have for children – the third most watched YouTube channel creates unboxing videos for children – the toy store giant has created a YouTube mini-series. Their ‘Toys Unboxing Toys’ series might seem a little inane to adults, but their YouTube stats prove kids are loving them. To date ,these stop-motion videos have collectively over 7 million views. These are the first ever scripted unboxing style videos by a major brand, launched in October 2015. Originally, there were only five planned in to support their holiday season campaign, but they’ve decided to run with the success of them, the latest being published in September 2016.
The brand has expanded their unboxing offer with ‘Kids Unboxing Toys’ has just reached its tenth episode. This episode, five days after being released on YouTube, already attracted almost 100 thousand views. With the holiday season upon us, it’s not a great stretch to imagine those views equating to hundreds of thousands of children asking for a trip to Toys “R” Us before Christmas, or adding the toys they’ve seen to their lists for Santa.
Toys and tech aren’t the only things being unboxed online; another popular genre is ‘luxury’ unboxing videos. Featuring high-end luxury brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton, popular unboxing vlogger Chase Aimee says she watches these videos to find out about items she may buy herself. “The appeal lies in seeing a bag I might be interested in and experiencing the unboxing with the individual. Usually, there’s a story that goes with it (how the bag was decided upon, etc.) and a little bit about the experience of buying it. It helps me to make more informed buying decisions and is also just so exciting seeing something beautiful being unwrapped. Luxury design houses spend a fortune on their packaging so it’s all part of the experience.”
Unboxing packs a punch
In 2015, six-and-a-half years’ worth of unboxing videos were uploaded to YouTube. At the time of writing, a search on YouTube for the term ‘unboxing’ returns 53.5 million results, with more being uploaded every day.
With stats like those, these videos are undeniably popular. A study by Google showed the number of consumers who had watched an unboxing video is 1 in 5. A separate study, also conducted by Google, showed 34% of all unboxing video views happen around the Christmas holiday period. This gives marketers a clear indication that unboxing videos are becoming an important element in the decision to buy.
Playing on our innate human curiosity, unboxing can be a useful tool for brands. With research showing 88% of consumers are as likely to trust online reviews as personal recommendations, many big brands are starting to take notice. Psychologist Diana Parkinson recognises the trend as, “the best, and cheapest form of advertising ever.”
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