Unboxing is here to stay and watching videos of people unboxing brings happiness to thousands and thousands of people.
The unboxing phenomenon has gone viral and how! Be it kids or adults, people get a vicarious pleasure from watching YouTube videos of people unboxing products or subscription boxes. So what is unboxing, for the uninitiated? It’s basically the process of taking a video of yourself unpacking a product. The unboxer unwraps the product from its packaging, comments on it and, in some cases, reviews it. You, as a viewer, also get to see his or her excitement and joy during the process of unboxing.
Digital marketer Cornelia Cozmuic, in her article, ‘Demystifying the Huge & Unconventional Video Unboxing Business’ observes that these videos ‘appeal to the very basic of emotions: the capacity to mirror someone else’s surprise, excitement, wonder and unadulterated joy – in short, our capacity for empathy’.
The five most popular categories for unboxing are electronics, kids’ toys, cosmetics, high-end accessories and eBay mystery boxes.
Cozmuic says, “There’s a strange element of appeal to it. Because it really zeroes into a very narrow, specific emotion. Remember, most unboxing videos don’t really ever turn on the device. So what is explored is probably closer to the experience of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning. Yes, you will eventually get to play around with your new toy, but the first and most exciting feeling is that of discovering the product inside – the toy itself.”
So, what is it about the process of unboxing that gives so much joy and excitement to viewers?
You’re waiting for the same thing: If you regularly subscribe to a sub box, there are many companies that send those same sub boxes to social media influencers in advance. So, subscribers of these sub boxes wait with bated breath for the process of unboxing by the influencer. They then know what is in store for them!
You can’t afford a certain product: There are so many gadgets and gizmos that we all want but they are way beyond our budget. So, the only way we can enjoy the product is by watching another consumer or influencer opening it. We share his or her exhilaration in the entire unboxing process. We get closer to experiencing the same thing!
It helps in future decisions: There may be a product you’ve been eying for a while. But you’re sitting on the fence regarding the same. And then you watch an unboxing video of the same product and see the joy it brings to the person who is unboxing it. And now you are satisfied that you were right in wanting this product. After all, it is something that brings happiness to the person who buys it.
It helps you to verify a company’s products: This ties up to the above point. Even if you have doubts about a product or a company, once you watch a video of the same being unboxed by someone you follow and trust, your doubts are put to rest and you are confident about buying it. It helps you to make a more informed buying decision. And that will certainly make you happier!
It’s tantalizing: Let’s face it, we all love to be enticed. There’s something so glorious about exhilarating anticipation, about breathless surprise, about impatient waiting, about tearing open a package to see what is inside. And that is precisely what unboxing does. Only, here, you wait and watch while someone else does the unpacking. The scientific reason for this has been posited as the ‘mirror neuron system’ – the same neurons in our brain are activated when we watch another person carry out a task as when we do the same task ourselves.
Walter Isaacson from Apple said, “Steve (Jobs) and I spent a lot of time on the packaging. I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.” And that is what the appeal of unboxing is. It’s all about the wow factor; it’s all about excitement and anticipation; and it’s about getting to see and know what a product is all about.