- Dollar Tree is the most frequently mentioned brand in “haul” videos, according to a study by packaging company Shorr that analyzed the genre of YouTube videos in which people show what they bought during a shopping spree. Among the top 20 brands in haul videos, discount retailer Dollar Tree was mentioned 26% of the time, ahead of Fashion Nova (8%) and Primark (7%).
- AliExpress, the online retailer run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, was the most frequently mentioned brand in “unboxing” videos that show people opening a package and discussing or reviewing its contents. Among the top 20 brands in unboxing videos, Ali Express was mentioned 21% of the time, ahead of Samsung (9%), Apple (8%), Google (7%) and Amazon (6%).
- Clothing is mentioned in 59% of haul videos, ahead of other product categories such as general discount (11%), beauty and makeup (9%) and home décor (6%). Toys are mentioned in 29% of unboxing videos, ahead of phones and accessories (16%), computers, tablets and accessories (10%) and gaming consoles (7%). Shorr in October 2018 analyzed 3,000 recently uploaded haul and unboxing videos on YouTube.
Shorr’s study of haul and unboxing videos demonstrates how brands and retailers can work with social influencers to boost exposure among audiences who actively seek out the content on Google’s YouTube video-sharing platform. Haul and unboxing videos rarely conclude with negative impressions of products or brands, and are a well-established genre, as Shorr notes. The first unboxing video showing a Nokia cellphone appeared in 2006, and department-store chain J.C. Penney started sponsoring haulers in 2010, according to Yahoo Finance. The biggest opportunity for brands and retailers may be working with “nanoinfluencers,” or YouTubers with fewer than 10,000 subscribers who viewers consider more authentic than more popular personalities.
Dollar Tree is mentioned so frequently in haul videos that the discount retailer practically has its own subgenre on YouTube. The videos typically show all the great finds and savings at the retailer, which has about 15,200 stores in the United States and Canada, including Family Dollar locations acquired in a 2015 merger. Discount chains like Walmart, Target, Dollar General and Five Below could seek to expand their presence in haul videos by working with influencers who regularly showcase their shopping trips. Department stores and clothing chains also have an opportunity to promote their merchandise in haul videos, according to the report
Brands and retailers also need to be cautious about properly disclosing any kind of sponsorship of influencers to avoid possible fines from the Federal Trade Commission or a class action suit from aggrieved viewers. About one-fourth (27%) of haul influencers earned $10,000 or more a year, with 3% earning $100,000 or more, according to Shorr’s estimates. The packaging company said 9% of unboxers earn at least $10,000, and only 2% earn more than $100,000. About 64% of unboxers earned no money, compared with 15% of haulers.