The unboxing phenomenon
In 2006, when a young man recorded himself unpacking the most cutting-edge phone model of the time and then sharing the video on social networks, he surely didn’t imagine that he was creating a trend called unboxing. This trend would not only endure over time but would become a mass phenomenon among digital shoppers and a surreal and lucrative business for youtubers around the world.
A quick look through Google Trends, YouTube and the hashtag #unboxing (with more than 100 million results) gives us an idea of the magnitude of this phenomenon whose trend continues to rise today.
But a big surprise showed up this year. May 2020, right in the middle of the COVID’19 pandemic with 70% of the European population confined to their homes and Apple launches the ad for its new iPhone SE. What is its main focus? That´s right, on unboxing.
At first unboxing was related to the unpacking of gadgets and technological devices, but today we find unboxing videos of almost all products, including luxury items such as cosmetics, jewelry, perfumes, drinks, fashion accessories…
So, there is a multitude of youtubers who have become expert commentators-examiners of luxury packaging.
There are 2 very important facts to take into account around this phenomenon and that are like an alarm sounding at full volume:
- According to the consulting firm Bain & Co, 70% of luxury purchases today are influenced by online searches.
- One out of every three digital consumers has viewed an unboxing video.
These statements corroborate that we are facing a phenomenon of neuromarketing directly linked to the packaging of the product.
It is no longer enough to win the battle of the shelves, where what matters is to develop an externally attractive case that catches our attention in a matter of seconds.
Today we also have to win the digital battle, where the decision time is longer and the waiting time for the product, its arrival and unpacking is the real experience. Therefore, it’s not enough to just design its exterior;the interior takes on a new and greater meaning.
Unboxing is part of the shopping experience and the psychology behind this phenomenon is clear:
- A very important non-verbal communication is stablished
- It creates expectation and surprise around the product
- It produces emotional infection, empathy
In fact, the videos that are most successful both in terms of the number of views and in terms of advertising effectiveness are videos of toys aimed at young children, who are much more open to fantasy, surprise and emotion.
From the marketing point of view:
- Unboxing reinforces the online shopping experience, regardless of whether it is recorded and shared.
- Te way we receive a product, open a box and take out the content… adds some of that “human factor” that is missing from online shopping.
- It strengthens the bonds between consumer and brand, it makes us feel closer to a brand’s philosophy.
In conclusion we can say that in offline environments the purchase decision is made in a very short amount of time, so the packaging plays an important role of capturing the consumer’s attention in those few seconds the function of packaging is to sell.
Things change online; we have much more time to look at, compare, make decisions, etc. The function of packaging in this case is part of brand building, after-sales service and customer loyalty.
Bearing in mind that the barrier between off and online is growing thinner and that Generation Z will provide a new twist to what we have barely managed to understand and put into practice, the function of packaging will be transformed and adapted to new consumers.
However, all that being said, packaging won’t cease to be an extremely important means of making your brand and your product talk.