YouTube feeds addiction for tech unboxing obsession

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Lamarr Wilson does not have a good poker face, but has the kind of face for unboxing gadgets that makes him popular with his YouTube audience.
Lamarr Wilson does not have a good poker face, but has the kind of face for unboxing gadgets that makes him popular with his YouTube audience.
Photo: Lamarr Wilson/YouTube

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugMaybe Christmas morning doesn’t come often enough. How else do you explain the full-blown obsession of millions of people who turn to YouTube to watch videos of someone opening boxes containing new products?

Tech companies, especially Apple, know that packaging and how it opens to present you that shiny new gadget is a critical first step towards a love connection. Companies are even conscious of how a sparkling YouTube personality with a child-like excitement for what’s inside the box can help drive sales.

A love connection

Behind one closed door at Apple’s sprawling headquarters sit people who open boxes and document the emotional experience of doing so. Only the concept that offers the coolest and most exciting unboxing is worthy for assignment.

“A lot of people make buying decisions based on the unboxing,” tech expert and popular YouTube vlogger Lamarr Wilson told Cult of Mac. “People live vicariously through other people and it feels like they are getting it themselves. Maybe some of my viewers come home after a crappy day and just want to see someone having fun.”

A Nokia cellphone in 2006 is credited with unboxing our appetite for these kinds of videos, at least as far as gadgets are concerned. Videos of shoppers unbagging beauty products were also gaining popularity at the same time. Today, the most popular unboxing videos are toys, but this money-making vehicle, for both product and vloggers, extends to a wide range of products, even candy and cookies.

If you do a YouTube search on the word “unboxing”, you will find 51.8 million titles that contain that word. Do the same and add “Apple,” 1.8 million titles will appear.

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Lewis Hilsenteger unboxed every phone in the iPhone 6s series for his audience.
Photo: Unbox Therapy/YouTube

Unbox Therapy

One YouTube channel, DC Collector, made $5 million in 2014 just unboxing Disney toys.

The benefits for sales are obvious, but the unboxing video has proven lucrative for the YouTube personality by way of sponsored posts and advertising revenue. Creators get paid per monetized view, meaning the video is viewed long enough for an ad to appear.

Lewis Hilsenteger hosts one of the most popular channels on YouTube, aptly called Unbox Therapy. Hilsenteger has more than 3.5 million subscribers and his videos reach in the hundreds of millions for views. The website, richcelebs.com, puts Unbox Therapy’s net worth at more than $600,000.

unboxing
Justine Ezarik, known as iJustine to YouTube followers, gets her first look at the Apple Watch.
Photo: iJustine/YouTube

A lucrative experience

Justine Ezarik, known as iJustine to her legion of YouTube fans, is worth more than $800,000 through various video projects that include, unboxing and tech reviews of Apple products and gaming systems and gadgets, according to the same website.

Wilson’s following is not as large, but richcelebs.com still lists his worth at more than $100,000. Wilson and others follow a strict code of ethics. Honesty about a product leads to trust and a robust viewership. Sponsored posts are clearly identified and if a product doesn’t interest them, they will decline to feature it.

“I feel like the camera is the biggest bullshit detector,” Wilson said. “You have to have trust and personality, too. For me, if I put mystery into it and I can be surprised, the more views its doing to get. I really try to show how I would use something in my life and maybe you can use it, too.”

unboxing
Wilson lets viewers see the difference between iPads during a recent unboxing of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.
Photo: Lamarr Wilson/YouTube

YouTube tech personality Austin Evans tries to incorporate useful information about the product he is opening for his viewers. Most of his audience turn to him for gaming reviews and are more likely to be PC users. However, he does see a surge in views on videos involving Apple products, especially new iPhones.

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Austin Evans unboxed an iPhone SE and gave his viewers pros and cons for purchasing one.
Photo: Austin Evans/YouTube

“It’s a very popular format right now and a lot of unboxings are clinical and borings,” said Evans, whose net worth is more than $200,000 according to richcelebs.com. “I try to show some live reaction and convey my excitement. I try to lean more on the experience a person can have with the product.”

Check out unboxing videos for the four YouTube stars mentioned above and compare their styles.