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An unboxing of a Traktor Kontrol Z2

Unboxing is the unpacking of products, especially high-tech consumer products, where the process is captured on video and uploaded to the internet. The item is then also explained in detail and also can sometimes be demonstrated as well.

Yahoo Tech places the first unboxing video to be for the Nokia E61 cellphone in 2006.[1] According to Google Trends, searches for the term "unboxing" began to surface in the final quarter of 2006.[2][original research?]

Early unboxing videos focused mainly either on gadgets or fashion items.[3] However, once the trend took off, unboxing videos were available for, as Yahoo's Deb Amien put it, "nearly every thing that is available for purchase."[1] By 2014 the popularity of the videos were such that some companies[which?] had been known to upload unboxing videos for their own products,[4] whilst others sent products to uploaders for free.[4]

Some consider the popularity of this practice is due to the ability of showing the product exactly for what it is without any adulteration advertisers usually make around the product. Being able to see what the customer is getting "can contribute to the decision process."[5] Some users have tried to make these unboxings more interesting by adding special effects or doing them in different ways, such as an underwater unboxing of a waterproof smartphone.

The growth of e-commerce has also been a major factor contributing to the rise of unboxing. Direct-to-consumer companies needed a way to better connect with their customers emotionally and create a positive buying experience. This has led to many D2C companies investing in packaging design to serve as a marketing asset for their products. The more engaging and cool the packaging is, the more likely consumers will record unboxing videos of their product and ultimately drive more buyers to the company. Packaging manufacturers are also increasingly aware of the role of 'the unboxing trend' in their development, and are continually improving their technologies to meet the demand for higher quality printed packages. Boxes are no longer just a transportation tool - they are a valuable marketing billboard delivered right to the customers.


In 2016, international fast food chain store Burger King debuted a commercial featuring Frito-Lay mascot Chester Cheetah unboxing the Mac n' Cheetos.[6][7][8]

Kid unboxing[edit]

Kid unboxing is a YouTube format. It consists in the process of unpacking toys made by children, who are often sponsored by toy producers. After unpacking the product, the child will also assemble, describe, try and review it.

The current YouTube Kids logo

Origins of the phenomenon[edit]

Kid unboxing is part of a broader phenomenon, that of unboxing videos. In particular since 2013 the most prominent subject of unboxing videos has been toys unboxing and the main topic of the first ones were the opening of surprise eggs.[9] Kids are the primary target for toys channels, and the videos are shot accordingly, with bright colors, quick cuts and a happy narration: kids unboxing videos have a loyal and global following. Kid hosts, such as the child star of Ryan's World,[10] often fall into it accidentally when their parents upload videos of them. Ryan Kaji was among the first children to start making these videos in the US in 2015,[11] when he was four years old. An early clip, in which he opened up a giant egg with more than 100 items inside, has been viewed more than a billion times. He began making videos after watching other toys review channels like EvanTubeHD [12] who uploaded his first video in 2011 when he was six. On February 15, 2015, YouTube created YouTube Kids which is an app specifically developed to upload contents addressed only to children.

Key data[edit]

Most youtuber kids are from 5 to 10 years old. For Forbes magazine, among the top 10 videos seen on Youtube in 2018 in the US there is the channel of Ryan Kaji, whom in 2019 became top YouTube earner with $32 million USD.[13]

List updated to July 9, 2022

Channel Views Subscribers
Vlad and Nikita[14] 65,187,346,774 83.5 Mln
Ryan's World 51,430,382,247 32.8 Mln
CKN Toys[15] 18,723,752,527 18.3 Mln
Kids' Toy[16] 3,049,404,634 2.47 Mln
DenLion TV[17] 3,042,378,325 9.06 Mln

The format and its variation[edit]

Videos concerning kid unboxing focus the attention on the toys the child is unpacking. The child assembles the toys (when it is made up of different pieces) and then tries it, showing all the features, and explaining them. While the figure of the kid is essential, the presence of the adult can be active or passive. Another distinguishing element of these videos is the use of post-production elements such as soundtracks and funny effects and sounds . Moreover, the most important feature of the format is the high involvement of emotion both shown and felt by the kids. The over exaggerated feelings are the key point to engage the audience and to attract the viewers. For example, the joy of opening up a new toy for the first time, is something that people of all ages can relate to, moreover kids love watching other children play with toys. In addition, the kid unboxing videos often take the look of sponsored videos, indeed toys productors are very likely to offer free toys to kids in exchange of promotional videos.[original research?]


On September 4, 2019, YouTube and Google (the owner of the former) obliged to pay a $170 million fine for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) law,[18][19] due to the illegal collection of personal data of those under 13 years old, without the parental consent, in order to create targeted advertising to insert into the YouTube platform.[20] For this reason, YouTube has been obliged to introduce a new policy concerning contents addressed to children. To this category of videos is denied the possibility of monetization, the possibility for users to use the YouTube comments section under the video or to receive notifications about it. For people engaged in content creation that have a young audience, this fact is going to damage their economic income due to the restrictions for advertisers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Amien, Deb. "Why Unboxing Videos Are So Satisfying". Yahoo Tech. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  2. ^ Google Trends: unboxing, accessed on 5 May 2010.
  3. ^ Buist, Erica. "Unboxing – the YouTube phenomenon that lets you see what you're getting". Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b Kelly, Heather. "The bizarre, lucrative world of 'unboxing' videos". CNN. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  5. ^ What's the Deal With Unboxing Videos?, "PBS Idea Channel", 12 February 2014.
  6. ^ Diaz, Ann-Christine (18 May 2017). "The King and Chester Cheetah Want You to Stuff Your Face With Jumbo Cheetos Oozing With Mac N' Cheese". Creativity. Crain Communications. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  7. ^ Wohl, Jessica (27 June 2016). "Burger King Unboxing Video Stars Chester Cheetah". Advertising Age. Crain Communications. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  8. ^ Wohl, Jessica (28 June 2016). "Chester Cheetah Unboxes the New Burger King Offering That's Going to Ruin Your Beach Diet". Creativity. Crain Communications. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  9. ^ A Brief History of Unboxing, Polygon . 25 May 2018.
  10. ^ Ryan's World, YouTube.
  11. ^ Should children watch toy unboxing videos?, BBC News. 9 December 2019.
  12. ^ EvanTube HD, YouTube
  13. ^ "What is Ryan Kaji- the highest paid YouTuber's net worth?". opoyi.com. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  14. ^ Vlad and Nikita, YouTube.
  15. ^ CKN Toys, YouTube.
  16. ^ Kids'Toy, YouTube
  17. ^ DenLion TV, YouTube
  18. ^ Youtube, violata la privacy dei bambini: multa milionaria in arrivo, Corriere della Sera. 20 July 2019.
  19. ^ Privacy, a Google multa da 170 milioni per YouTube. E ora si indaga anche in Irlanda, La Repubblica. 4 September 2019.
  20. ^ Mi sono svegliata con l’Apocalisse su Youtube: ecco cosa sta accadendo agli youtuber che si rivolgono ai giovanissimi, Fatto Quotidiano. 14 November 2019