Packaging and the Unboxing Experience

A person is unboxing Hubble contact lenses

If you’re active on any of the popular social media platforms, we’re sure you’ve seen the topic of our next discussion. That’s right, the trend of an “unboxing experience” is flooding our feeds and influencers are continually capitalizing on the surprising mode of entertainment for their audiences.

We see everyone from beauty bloggers and YouTube stars to health gurus and celebrities opening up packages sent to them by companies, many of whom send the receiver a public relations package for free for a (typically positive) review in return.

For some reason, viewers are tuning in by the millions to watch influencers open colorful, branded packages full of goods. But why did this trend catch on in the first place, and why is it so entertaining for audiences to watch? We explored the concept of unboxing and why it’s such a big part of social media and the packaging industry today.


The Rise of the Unboxing Trend

As far as we can tell, the very first recorded instance of an unboxing was filmed in 1978 and the video lives on thanks to YouTube. According to Yahoo, the trend seemingly took off yet again in 2006 when a company filmed themselves unboxing a Nokia E61 cellphone. Since then, the movement has exploded into something immense that spans the globe.

Clearly, viewers are watching and watching a lot. In June of 2017, Think With Google published a stat stating, “the amount of time people have spent watching unboxing videos just on their phones is the equivalent of watching the holiday classic “Love Actually” more than 20 million times.” In the two years since the statistic was published, we’ve seen an even larger influx of viewers and audiences get hooked on watching.

Interestingly enough, YouTube’s highest-earner for the past 2 years has been an eight-year-old boy named Ryan Kaji who makes unboxing videos of toys, where he then tries them out on camera for the public. His audience tuning in earned him $22 million and $26 million in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

When it comes down to it, packaging is truly a form of marketing and for many influencers and social media stars, they rely on one thing: audiences wanting what they are opening. That’s where packaging can influence decisions without the viewer (and sometimes even the influencer) realizing it.


Packaging in Unboxing

It’s no secret that the appeal of beautiful packaging can instantly influence buying decisions, and the unboxing industry has been proving that notion to be correct on an even larger scale. Everything from the color of the packaging to the texture of the material being used can immediately sway the choice of a consumer. So making sure that the entirety of the package is designed, and designed well, can make or break a sale.

According to a study on the influence of color on consumer behavior by Insights in Marketing, feelings dictate the majority of decisions and actions that buyers make. They explained that people don’t live in a “thinking” state, but rather a “feeling state”, and 93% of consumers have reported the appearance of a product as being the most important one. How does that relate to color theory and choice? 85% of consumers say they are influenced heavily by a product’s color.

For instance, one of the most popular, well-recognized brands of all time is Coca-Cola. The red color of their branding has become one of the most iconic colors in history, along with other brands like Target and Netflix. WebFX explained the meaning behind the color and how it can impact emotions. According to color theory, red attracts attention, can represent romance, and is known for conjuring feelings of power. It can also create a sense of urgency and increase heart rates — a plus for brands like Target who are looking for people to fill their carts and secure a sale. Not only that, but the color red has also been known to intensify your appetite, which is why so many recognizable food and beverage businesses choose it. 

In addition to red, other colors on the wheel can be employed to evoke product-appropriate emotions. Orange can represent enthusiasm, blue is linked to feelings of security, and black is known to show sophistication. If we examine some of the most beloved brands in history, a strong, memorable hue often comes to mind; think Starbucks, Sephora, Verizon, and more. In essence, the color you choose to represent your brand can solidify your business’ message, with or without the intent to do so. What follows is consumers, in turn, receiving a message determined by your color of choice.

Along with color theory comes the importance of the packaging design itself, whether it’s simplistic and sleek or highly-designed. And we’re seeing the evolution of packaging, especially in industries like the beauty world. If we look at Raconteur’s analysis of brands with creative packaging design, The Ordinary is a prime example. According to Raconteur, labeling of a product can have just as much of an impression on customers as overtly designed goods and The Ordinary represents intentional simplicity to a tee. Their pharmaceutical-inspired packaging combined with elegant containers helps the brand remain “gender-neutral”, appealing to various consumers, and speaks for itself.

How does this all apply to the purchasers watching the unboxing? Along with simply being addicted to the video fad, as they watch their favorite celebrity or influencer open up designed PR packages with beautiful products (and ultimately recommend them), feelings kick in. In an article by Brandtrepreneur, a platform of Medium, 1 in 5 consumers have watched an unboxing video, and 60 million searches and 3 billion on YouTube happened in 2017 alone.

Consumers would like to know what they’re getting before they get it, they’d like to be inspired to buy, and the unboxing phenomenon is giving them just that.


How Pioneer Packaging  Can Help

If you want a product package worthy of being featured in an unboxing video, you’ve come to the right place. We offer state-of-the-art facilities to assist our amazing clients in every step of the packaging process. From design and manufacturing to fulfillment and storage, we can do it all. We are committed to exceeding expectations. Imagine it…done. Contact us today. 

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