Why Unboxing Videos Are So Popular

I think it’s safe to say that everyone enjoys personally unboxing a brand new item. You’ve been waiting days for your new package and you can’t help but get more and more excited as you uncoil wires and discover pamphlets of welcome messages and instructions you’ll never touch again.

But why do so many people make and watch unboxings of items other people have received? Were you really expecting anything more than bag ties and tape and cardboard containments? Probably not. But as PBS Idea Channel’s Mike Rugnetta notes, there are probably a few reasons for this.

For one thing, it’s a bit of a fetishisation of the product/owning that product. Lots of people on the Internet have a shared appreciation for owning a brand new iPhone or are excited to see the first few new Xbox Ones out in the wild. These products are stripped of any glossy after effects that a marketing team would pile on to them, too. If you’ve ever watched a McDonalds ad and then gone into a physical McDonalds and ordered the same cheeseburger, you’re doubtless aware of the power of presentation.

Rugnetta makes a few other pointed observations that are worth thinking about but whatever the motivation may be, the likes of YouTube and other sources have made one thing evident: people sure do like their unboxing videos.


  • I love unboxings! When I purchase or I’m going to purchase something online, or in the future, I always watch unboxing videos of them. I just like seeing what I actually get, in real life, just like what the guy in the video up top was talking about. I always watch multiple unboxing on the same product as well just to see different way people unbox it and they way they display what’s in the box. Also I get more excited for when I get to unbox my own product 🙂

  • The only thing I really love to unbox is a new console. There’s nothing like pulling a new console out of the box, going ‘oooooo shiny’ and plugging it in for the first time and getting all excited about the new startup sequence for the first time.

    I don’t really care for the videos though. If I’ve ordered a CE/SE, I know what’s coming in it.

    • Unless it’s a portable and you go “oooh, shiny!” then plug it in and read the instruction manual for the game you got with it for 3 hours while it charges.

  • Altho i enjoy a good unboxing video, it is often hard to sort through the crap and finding a decent video (like the dude that has been doing on alot of products on PCCG, he’s crap)
    One thing i would like to start seeing are “Unboxed device 6 months later” because i often buy stuff after watching around 10 diff unboxing / demo videos and find that generally 6 odd months later it was a horrible idea (such as the Mamba, sides of the mouse went all crappy and fell off, Tritton headset which started to fall apart and ware pretty heavily in some areas, TT Headphones which had a few design flaws)

  • I find then extremely handy. On more than one occasion I’ve unboxed an item only to throw the box out and realise after the fact it had other items still in it packed neatly away in an area I did not notice to unfold (usually driver CD’s). Hence watching these I know what to keep an eye out for.

  • I actually used an unboxing video last year before I ordered a 20 DVD box set from Amazon.
    Just wanted to make sure the disc packaging would be sturdy enough to survive the rigours of international travel, especially since many multi-disc sets can be easily cracked or have the discs fall off their mount. It certainly helped me to order with confidence.

  • Unboxing is when we see the product without the advertising spin. Sony even tried to make their own unboxing video of the PS4, but it just isn’t the same when it is in a controlled environment. Unboxing video by a fan shows what we are really buying, not what the ads tell us they are selling.

  • I lived in nz around 8yrs back and even then new release games were normally around the 140 mark (for ps2 and xbox games) apparently its even worse now, I’m not surprised they would take the cheaper alternative.

    Edit, this comment isn’t even on the right article, I’ve gone full retard.

  • Personally, I like to see the effort that has gone into the packaging of a product. More times than not, the manufacturer’s website does not show the packaging that their product lives in.

  • I just pu together a new pc and for the majority of the parts I looked at unboxing videos and unboxing/review videos to get a feel. I scoured the net fo videos for my monitor, 27″ @ 1080p to see if I can actually see the negatives in most reviews, in this case small Res, large screen. Actually very useful but definitely more catered to the enthusiasts

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