For years, people have scoffed at the idea of watching other people open merchandise and film that process for the entertainment of others. But much like we laughed at the idea of reality TV taking off, time has proven that content about ordinary people doing ordinary things continues to fascinate us.

Google has confirmed that, far from being a niche, oddball vertical populated, and mostly watched, by obsessive tech fans, views of unboxing videos increased by 57% in 2014. Uploads of unboxing content have also seen a significant increase - 50% compared to 2013. There are over 22M search results returned on YouTube for the keyword 'unboxing', and Google claims that research indicates that one fifth of consumers have watched an unboxing video on YouTube, with 62% confirming they have used them as part of their research into a product.

Unboxing Videos on YouTube: 1.6M Uploads, 11.3B Views

According to analytics platform Tubular, there are 1.6M unboxing videos active on YouTube. Taking a deeper-dive into the data reveals that:

  • Those videos have generated 11.3 Billion views
  • The average view count for an unboxing video is 7,000
  • The average view count for an unboxing video in the 'Entertainment' category is 22,000
  • Google states that it would take 7 years to watch the unboxing videos uploaded in 2014
  • Those 2014 uploads have already generated 1 Billion views
  • Since 2010, the number of YouTube clips with 'unboxing' in the title has increased by 871%
  • In the last 30 days, the most viewed unboxing videos belong to toy reviewer DisneyCollectorBR

Are Unboxing Videos Pushing Genuine Product Sales?

As the overwhelming majority of unboxing videos are unbranded, it's going to be hard to quantify how many sales are being generated. However, this type of earned media is solid-gold for brands, and Google's research highlights the fact that 62% of viewers who watched an unboxing video did so as part of their research into purchasing that product. In the run up to the festive season, Google found that 34% of unboxing video views were for electronics, food, toys, toy reviews, fashion items, and beauty products.

In terms of the fastest growing unboxing categories on the site, mobile phone reveals grew 200%, with fashion & style (90%), and food and drink (42%) in second and third place.

fastest growing unboxing categories 2014

Why are Unboxing Videos so Successful?

Many theories abound as to the success of unboxing videos. Of course, they provide a handy service to viewers who want a behind-the-scenes look at a product before they commit to buying it. Finding a reviewer that is prepared to walk you through every feature of that device, or toy, or other piece of gubbins you have your eye on, is priceless. Looking to compare products? Chances are that multiple review videos have been made that allow you to do all the research you need to from the comfort of your own sofa.

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But it's also more than that. It's the thrill of anticipation, particularly for an item that, due to cost or location, you may not be able to get your hands on for a while. Take the iPhone 6. There was almost as much hype about the unboxing phenomenon surrounding it as there was about the product launch itself, and videos like the 'iPhone 6 Bend Test' generated views in their millions within a couple of days of upload.

3 Ways Brands Can Take Advantage of Unboxing Videos

There are a number of very effective ways that brands and video marketing departments can take advantage of this booming trend:

#1 Advertise Against Unboxing Content

holiday video marketing tipsIf 62% of people who watch unboxing videos do so as part of the process of buying that product, then brands whose products fall in, and around, the same vertical should look to advertise on that content.

#2 Create Your Own Unboxing Videos

holiday video marketing tipsViewers love authentic content, so don't create this type of video just for the sake of it. However, if you think your customers would benefit from this type of production then create a video that really addresses the needs of your audience. Or one that is hugely entertaining, timely, and relevant.

Ikea took full advantage of the unboxing trend this September when they launched their own parody video around the launch of the new iPhone range:

#3 Collaborate with YouTube Influencers Who Are Reviewing Your Product

holiday video marketing tipsElectronics, toys, and food reveals may be subject to seasonal spikes, but brands can tap into the interest in unboxings all year round. There are many thousands of creators producing this type of content, and generating hundreds of thousands of views by doing so. Identify a YouTube Influencer you can create video content with ahead of a major event and work with them to present your product in a really engaging way.

when are we watching unboxing videos