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Unboxing: the Power of Packaging

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April 28, 2022

The thrill of shopping doesn’t necessarily come from swiping a credit card or clicking through an online order. Often, the most exciting part of the purchase is the unveiling. It’s a tactile, even visceral, experience for the senses. Like popping the corkscrew off a bottle of champagne, opening a package creates moments of suspense, intrigue, and gratification. 

It’s about more than the product. It’s about the feeling.  

While most marketing and design trends come and go, packaging’s impact is evident in the online movement that’s gone from fad to phenomenon: unboxing. Unboxing is when consumers or influencers remove a newly purchased product from its original packaging, typically sharing the full experience, with commentary, in a video format shared online. 

couple looking at smart phone with wine by fire pit

How popular is unboxing — and why?

YouTube reports that the time people have spent watching unboxing videos on their phone is equivalent to watching the beloved holiday movie, Love Actually, more than 20 million times. And that’s on mobile alone. While there are a variety of reasons people might be drawn to unboxing videos, it evokes the same feelings as unwrapping a gift. 

There’s an element of surprise to discovering what’s inside packages, and when products are packaged with premium materials and thoughtful finishes, it can add to the customer experience. Clever copy or innovative connectivity might deepen consumer engagement, while design choices and materials can make an experience feel especially high end or unique. Even in a sophisticated category like wine, nearly 80% of consumers make choices based on the label, according to Dr. Liz Thatch, wine educator

 

Unboxing as a social sensation 

What started as a fad has become an important consideration for modern brands and a lucrative profession for savvy consumers. In 2019, 8-year-old Ryan Kaji was the highest paid creator on YouTube, a title that he earned almost entirely through unboxing videos of toys. His channel, “Ryan’s World” has over 22.9 million subscribers, which translated to $22 million dollars in views, according to a 2018 article from Forbes.

In 2022, YouTube isn’t the only place where unboxing holds consumers’ attention. Everyday consumers and influencers (like Ryan) are now sharing unboxing experiences on Instagram and TikTok. On TikTok, the hashtag #unboxing has 32.6 billion views and the hashtag #prettypackaging has 59.5 million views.

 

Thoughtful packaging: From niche to necessity

When unboxing first burst online in the early 2000s, it was largely centered around electronics, like cellphones and computers. As the reach of unboxing expanded, so did its audience, leading to its rise in other categories, such as toys and cosmetics. Fast forward to the present day, where you can find an unboxing video for nearly every type of product: clothes, cleaning products, alcohol, toys, skincare, food, tech, and more. If it’s packaged, it’s probably unboxed. 

In today’s hyper-connected world, consumers depend on each other to learn about new products. They look to each other for affirmation of what’s cool and seek outside opinions regarding which brands are worth trying. 

If it’s associated with a brand, it should be infused with the brand’s personality and unanimous with the brand experience. Brand experiences transcend the product and extend to everything consumers interact with — from digital aspects such as social media and text messages to physical components such as in-store signage and, of course, packaging.

Consumers want personalization, authenticity, quality, and seamless but consistent connectivity. Packaging can offer it all. While elevated packaging was previously viewed as a premium, it’s now become an expectation. Any product can be unboxed and every brand should be considering how their unboxing experience resonates with consumers.

The trend of unboxing is still unfolding as brands and consumers alike navigate a reality where the stakes are higher, the expectations are greater, and the desire for connection is deeper than ever before. In a sea of sameness, exceptional packaging is a remarkable opportunity to stand out, win customers, and inspire consumer-generated content. According to Statista, some packaging features that consumers look for include sustainability (42%) and free samples (34%).

couple looking at poly mailer bag

Creating an incredible unboxing experience

Custom solutions and flexible service from prismiq™ empower you to transform your packaging and create memorable moments that translate to customer happiness at home and on screen. With expert guidance from a dedicated prismiq™ success manager, you can capitalize on every opportunity to add impact and create value throughout the unboxing experience. 

Delivery: Delivery is your opportunity to make a standout first impression. A dedicated success manager can help you select the right materials and specs to ensure that your packaging arrives in pristine condition, and the flexibility of prismiq™ enables you to make design choices that represent your brand beautifully and showcase what’s inside the package. 

Opening: When considering the opening phase of the unboxing experience, there are a variety of ways to treat recipients to moments of surprise and delight — such as textured design elements that add a sense of grandeur, compostable components that reflect your brand values, or something else entirely. Working with prismiq™ gives you the opportunity to make the opening moment as special as all those that follow. 

Product reveal: As consumers hold your product for the first time, what do you want them to notice? Is it your brand story, wrapped elegantly around a bottle? Is it the significance of your product’s weight in their hands? Or maybe there is a set of instructions, such as with a meal kit, that they need to focus on. Packaging solutions from prismiq™ can help you subtly point consumer attention to the details that matter most within your brand experience.

Communication: Packaging presents a unique opportunity to communicate with consumers at a moment where you’re already holding their attention. As they unbox your product, what else do you want to tell them? Imagine you’re sending a food product and you want to leverage traceability technology to show consumers where specific ingredients were sourced. Digital printing from prismiq™ gives you the chance to communicate in a meaningful way, with the opportunity to personalize every single package you deliver. 

Continued engagement: The unboxing journey doesn’t have to end once your customers have your product in hand. With connected packaging solutions, prismiq™ gives you the power to encourage continued engagement — whether that’s urging customers to scan a code and leave a review, inviting them to join your brand’s community on social media, directing them to explore your brand online, or upselling them with more of your product offering. 

At prismiq™, we’re dedicated to helping you leverage packaging to strengthen your brand — not just deliver your product. Together, we can make your packaging brilliant from the inside out.