The unboxing trend has taken the world by storm. Ordinary consumers are unwrapping gifts and packaging for everyone’s viewing pleasure. Product reviews on social media are also known as the internet’s word-of-mouth method. Unboxing has now become commonplace, which is of significance for many brands.
A Chanel paper bag and two packaged gift boxes are on the floor waiting to be unwrapped. A woman’s hand, with lovely burgundy-coloured nails, elegantly opens the packages one by one. Even though this is a 5-minute long, home-edited video, the quality is great. It sounds soft when the paper is opened. The woman is opening gifts that she has just bought. The comment thread speaks volumes, with plenty of praise and recognition for the lovely products.
This is a consumer “unboxing” product review and is an increasingly important part of marketing.
The video has been viewed at least 12,000 times in one year on YouTube. There are many people watching such (presumably) unpaid advertisements for these types of packaged products. The 12,000 views are just the tip of the “unboxing trend” iceberg. Some of the most popular unboxing reviews on YouTube have over 100 million views.
No, you didn’t read that wrong; there are over hundreds of millions of views.
How can brands and businesses take advantage of this trend, which has gone from being a fashionable phenomenon to an everyday occurrence?
A quick click on Google trends reveals that the trend is ongoing:
In this article, you can read about what unboxing is, and what it means for brands and businesses.
We address the following:
- What is unboxing?
- Is unboxing relevant for all products?
- Why do we do it?
- What does this mean for packaging and brands?
- Additional things you can do to create value
What is unboxing?
Unboxing is about commenting on and/or documenting the experience by unwrapping gifts or packages on video. Most often, these videos are published on digital platforms that allow everyone to view them. But they can also be featured on closed channels, such as Snapchat, Facebook Messenger or similar, where the unboxing experience is only shown to friends or family.
One of the earliest examples of an unboxing video is from 2006, where a gamer from the US unwrapped a PlayStation 3 delivered from Japan. The video was of interest to others due to the console not being for sale in the US at that time.
Unboxing doesn’t just happen on YouTube
YouTube is not the only media platform involved. The videos are also being shared extensively on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Many consumers share their buying experience in their Instagram story, for example. When brands and businesses make the purchasing experience personal and unique, consumers are more likely to share the experience with their friends and followers.
The popular US talk show host Ellen was very surprised to discover this trend, which she talks about in the video below:
Unboxing videos have many themes
Millions of people around the world are more than willing to spend several minutes watching someone unbox a gift or package. This can be shown in a variety of different ways. It could be a video about gifts that someone has received for their birthday, or someone opening delivery boxes, like the Danish Rikke Reads.
The most popular unboxing videos are those for expensive gadgets such as the iPhone, Xbox and Playstation consoles. There are many of these kinds of videos. Especially when it comes to electronics, it’s all about being the first to show off your own videos and comment on brand new products. Apple products, as you are probably aware, are supplied with Apple’s own premium packaging, which greatly improves the experience of new products and unwrapping.
Some YouTube channels, such as Unboxing Therapy, have specialised in the unboxing of gadgets. With its 16.1 million followers, there are many viewers who are in on the action when new Nike footwear or Apple AirPods are introduced.
Is unboxing relevant for all products?
There are unboxing videos within almost all categories. If something can be bought, there’s also bound to be an unboxing video about it, as long as it’s a tangible product. For services, this can be about making a non-tangible product tangible, for example through gift card solutions.
The vast majority of unboxing reviews are carried out by ordinary consumers and non-experts. These are consumers who are interested in the products and who want to share their own opinions. Such declarations can be worth their weight in gold for the brands that are given a positive mention. This can include anything from the gift wrap being spoken about, to the final item being unwrapped.
Nearly 200 unboxing videos (with a title featuring the term ”unboxing”) have had more than a million views in the past 12 months. According to YouTube, videos featuring amateur (and semi-pro) unboxing of everything from running shoes to dog toys have been viewed more than 1.1 billion times. At least 60 million hours have been spent watching other people open things. Additionally (and much more importantly), a Google Consumer Survey shows that 62% of those that watch unboxing videos do so when looking for a particular product.
That’s a lot of stuff being unwrapped and displayed on digital media, and it’s for this reason that unboxing is of interest for businesses.
Why do we do it?
Unboxing videos provide an unedited and honest look at commercial products. The glossy and highly retouched images and videos that brands and businesses use to show their goods can be far from the reality of what’s inside the box. People therefore like to hear “honest” reviews from others like themselves. Consumers want to know what they’re getting, and whether the item looks as good as promised and can do what has been promised. Others might just think it’s fun and interesting to see an unboxing clip.
Although video is frequently used, it is still a fast-growing medium. The average video consumption is 84 minutes a day, led by China and Sweden. The global average is expected to rise and reach 100 minutes a day in 2021. What’s more, the same source mentions that by 2022, 82% of global internet traffic will come from video streaming and downloads.
What does this mean for packaging and brands?
Video is popular. Unboxing is popular. Influencer marketing is surrounded by hype. For those in marketing, it’s time to put these things together. The trend has now transitioned into everyday life, and the packaging experience is now a “must-have” rather than something you use to differentiate yourself. Influencers and the unboxing trend can provide you with a great asset in an increasingly competitive market.
A study has shown that 93% of consumers claim online reviews have influenced their purchasing decisions.
93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions
Unboxing videos, which are basically customer reviews in a visual format, provide an unbiased presentation and authenticity to the products in question, which can lead to more sales.
It may seem extreme to consider designing product packaging or wrapping just to take advantage of some digital product reviews, but when people are willing to spend five to fifteen minutes talking about your product and/or the packaging for free, how can you say no?
Large global brands like Disney have long taken advantage of online product reviews
Disney has long made use of the value of unboxing. Disney has, for example, held a live 18-hour unboxing marathon on YouTube, culminating in the release of its new series of Star Wars toys. The importance of unboxing videos for brands is at least as high as word-of-mouth marketing. Online product reviews are the internet’s answer to the word-of-mouth method.
Additional things you can do to create value
The ever-growing popularity of digital product reviews and the importance of influencers evaluating products is no longer something that brands can simply ignore. So what can you do to create unboxing value?
Ideas on how to stand out
We’ve put together some examples of how you can provide an extraordinary unboxing experience:
1. Tissue paper provides a sense of elegance
Wrapping your products in tissue paper adds an extra level of excitement by building another layer of anticipation into the unboxing experience. Tissue paper with your own unique print tailored to your business and products, or patterned tissue paper that matches the season, may be worth considering.
2. Filling material
Traditional types of filler such as polystyrene filling and plastic bubble wrap do not provide the premium experience, and are on their way out in favour of more natural filling types. Although popping bubble wrap is a fun pastime for some of us, it isn’t visually exciting and definitely does not add that premium touch. Other forms of package filler worth considering include scrunched kraft paper, wood shavings or SizzlePak.
3. Stickers or labels
Stickers or labels are a useful option as they are inexpensive and can be used in many contexts. If you are using tissue paper, a label can seal the paper or fix it together with other items. You can also use labels on your delivery boxes instead of printing when affordability is important.
It might also be a good idea to use a sticker thanking your customers for their purchase.
4. Brochures, business cards or instructions
Brochures, business cards or catalogues are a relatively cost-effective way to add extra marketing impact to your package.
You can also include special instructions to help customers get the most out of your product – the possibilities are endless and relatively cheap.
5. Delivery notes can be more than simply a formality
It is standard practice to include a receipt or delivery note in your package, but many businesses do not use this as a branding or marketing opportunity.
Place the receipt and package slip inside the package in a spot that makes sense, as it is not the first thing the customer necessarily wants to see when they open it. In a high-end restaurant, the bill is delivered at the right moment and in an elegant way, such as in a closed folder.
You might consider including a coupon code on your delivery note or receipt, to encourage repeat purchases.
6. Handwritten note
Although handwritten notes can be difficult to scale for large numbers of orders, many new businesses do their utmost to satisfy every single customer. Spark interest and delight in your customers with a personal and sincere note. Handwritten messages show each individual customer that you are aware that every one of them is important, and show that there are real people behind your business.
7. Gift ribbons
With gift ribbons, you have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate who you are and which signals you want to send. The economical poly ribbon shows price consciousness, while silk ribbon signals exclusivity. Note that the width also has an effect on the experience.
Typically, a broader ribbon represents a higher level of exclusivity. And then there’s the colour choice. You can choose colours depending upon how they complement your logo, the season, the product line, or something else. The most important thing is that you are consistent, so it looks streamlined to your customers.
8. Samples or gifts
Based on your customer’s current purchase or buying history, you might consider including a free sample of another product. Ideally, you would choose something that your customer is likely to be interested in. If they bought perfume for example, you might choose to throw in a small sample of cream. This approach can help you to sell other products by introducing a customer to these new products.
9. Hang tags
Gift decorations or hang tags make your packaging look unique and elegant, so you can create the look and feel you want. You also have the option of adding a personal greeting. You can definitely score some points in the unwrapping experience here.
The packaging is the first impression
Many elements need to work together to provide an unboxing experience that will be remembered by your customers. Select which components of your packaging provide the best experience and the maximum value for your customers and your wallet. A strategic choice in the selection of a few elements can go a long way in creating an extraordinary unboxing experience. When your packaging is well-considered and inspiring, this creates trust and heightens the expectations of your customers.
The most important element for webshops is the delivery packaging. Depending on your product, this might be a box, a delivery bag or a padded envelope. White and brown delivery packaging was once the only option when choosing packaging for delivery, due to it being cheap and robust. However, these may not create the kind of experience and first impression you want to offer. Today, you can get delivery packaging in all kinds of colours, graphic statements and shapes tailored to suit your business.
Be unique and stand out
If you really want to stand out and make a difference with your fantastic products, it’s the small things that make a difference. Do your customers have the feeling of having a great product in their hands before they have even opened your parcel?
Your brand is also experienced through the packaging, so consider whether the users can tell that you are the sender of the package at first glance. Use shape, pattern and colour options to showcase your brand in unusual ways. Display your logo or elements of your logo on the box or bag. This gives you the chance to have your company name shown in a video.
You can use smiling characters or unconventional patterns. Anything that reaches your target audience and that can be captured with a camera. The unboxer should be able to create an experience for their viewers, so help them to help you.
At a smaller webshop, you can compete in terms of how much care and effort has gone into the handling of the package. That little extra detail that creates the wow effect should not be underestimated. Make your packaging an experience in itself and make it appeal directly to the person opening it.
Be sustainable and environmentally-friendly
Virtually all consumer groups today are very interested in sustainability. Most want to make a difference in a world which is characterized by a climate agenda, but they also want to look good when opening a gift or giving a gift to others. Again, this gives the unboxer plenty of opportunity to say more in their video.
Try to meet this desire by highlighting your environmental or sustainable goals. You can talk about what consumers need to do to dispose of packaging appropriately. If your packaging and wrapping uses an unnecessary amount of material, you may risk turning off your audience and getting your packaging a poor review, even if the product itself is not part of the equation.
Consider making your packaging reusable. For example, Loot Crate have instructions so users can also use their boxes as toys. The more that video users can get out of a single box, the better the potential reviews.
Shall we help you get your packaging ready for unboxing?
We are happy to help you find the packaging and accessories to make your packaging worth sharing across social media. Have a chat with us about your customers and get ready to thrill them with unboxing!
Loot Crate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXd07bcuJYM
Amerikansk gamer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxcdcWgp6Ew
Disney’s unboxing marathon: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34138489
Google Trends data: https://trends.google.com/trends/