Skip the Brown Box: How Pretty Packaging Spurs the Social-Driven Unboxing Culture

Almost 40 percent of online shoppers have shared an image or video of a product on social media, and branded packaging plays a big role in the decision, according to the Dotcom Distribution Packaging Report 2015.

The study, based on a survey of more than 500 online shoppers, also finds that consumers are turning to user-generated social media images and videos to help them make purchasing decisions. More than half of respondents (54 percent) have used social media to find photos or videos of a product they were thinking of buying within the past year, and 61 percent of those consumers said the research convinced them to make a purchase.

Maria Haggerty, CEO of Dotcom Distribution, said e-commerce brands can influence social shares and ultimately purchases by embracing premium packaging and delivering an experience, not just a package.

"Consumers are eager to share photos or videos of an online order they have received, especially if it comes in branded or gift-like packaging," said Haggerty. "Boring brown boxes represent lost opportunity. Retailers can leverage consumers as influencers to grow their brand and fuel future purchases by giving online shoppers more reasons to share their experiences."

The Dotcom Distribution Packaging Report shows that premium packaging matters when it comes to social sharing. More than 40 percent of consumers said branded packaging makes them more likely to share a product image or video on social media, and consumers are 1.5 times more likely to share pictures of gift-like boxes than traditional brown boxes.

Additionally, more than a third of online shoppers said premium packaging impacts brand perception, and 60 percent of that group feel that high-end packaging makes a brand seem more upscale. Forty percent of online shoppers said branded packaging makes them more likely to recommend a product to friends.

Other findings from the Dotcom study include:
- Premium packaging is especially important for lifestyle brands that sell an experience as much as they sell a product. In particular, almost 40 percent of consumers think premium packaging is important for luxury goods
- Thirty-six percent of consumers have watched an "unboxing" video, in which shoppers record and share the act of unpacking a product, and 55 percent of that group have purchased a product as a result.
- Among consumers who have shared pictures or videos of a product in branded packaging on social media, 84 percent have done so on Facebook, followed by Twitter (32 percent), Instagram (31 percent), YouTube (28 percent) and Pinterest (20 percent).

"Consumers are seeking out product photos and videos on social networks like Facebook and YouTube, and retailers should be encouraging their customers to share their brand experiences," said Haggerty. "Premium packaging can extend customer excitement well beyond purchase and delivery by tapping into the power of social media."

To conduct the packaging study, Dotcom Distribution surveyed 524 consumers who have shopped online in the past 12 months about their experiences with packaging and social media . The survey, conducted in March 2015, has a 4 percent margin of error.

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