Dating past the conception of Pandora and her box, humans have always had a deep curiosity for the unknown. Christmas, for example, is a time where we can’t wait to start ripping open gifts to see what’s inside; the anticipation is half the fun.

But recently, simple videos of people unboxing items have become a huge online trend. There were over 51 million results for the term ‘unboxing’ and 6.5 years’ worth of unboxing videos uploaded in 2015 alone. But why has it become so popular? What’s so fascinating about watching a total stranger gleefully unwrap items that aren’t even yours?

Well, according to the PBS Idea Channel, the popularity of unboxing videos stems from how it gives consumers “the ability to see the product for exactly what it is, without any adulteration advertisers usually make around the product.”  It allows the viewer to see the object of desire unveiled as they would receive it in real life.

A study conducted in the US found that 61% of internet users made a point of reading customer reviews online before deciding whether to make the purchase. (Econsultancy)

The act of watching something being received by someone else makes that thing more desirable. That’s because you’re getting to see the realness of the object, not the ideal that’s presented to you in advertisements. The honest reactions and reviews give a sense of authenticity.

In fact, in October this year, an Octoly study of Birchbox revealed that earned media views from unboxing videos (14.5 million) eclipsed the brand’s organic views (600,000) and 2 million paid views. It was found that a single influencer channel, eleventhgorgeous, was responsible for almost 35% of the brand’s earned media audience, with a series of videos that have an audience of over 5 million viewers.

Right now, 34% of the views for unboxing videos relating to food, electronics, toys and beauty/fashion happen in the October to December time frame. That’s one and a half times higher than the average volume of unboxing video views in other quarters.

We all know that anticipation runs high around the Christmas holidays, and unboxing helps fuel this anticipation. But there’s a practical side too. Research uncovered by TNS and Ogilvy says that 66% of beauty product purchasers said YouTube allowed them to visualise the product they want to buy.

In this way, it’s not a surprise that 63% of people who view these videos do so when researching a product (Google consumer surveys). Unboxing helps provide useful information during the holiday season as well as upping the feeling of anticipation. Sony truly embraced the trend in 2013.  Check out this cinematic unboxing video they did for the PS4:

So what better way to spruce up your marketing this Christmas than by making your own? You might even want to jazz up your Christmas packaging to add a wow factor and encourage more unboxing videos from popular YouTubers. It’s cheap marketing, and it really does guide consumers in the decision-making stage to purchase. Learn more about planning for peak times with this free infographic.