React Root Component
Contact Us

Unboxing Expectations: How Product Packaging Affects Customer Emotions

Even when customers know the contents of a package they’ve just received, the giddy sense of anticipation they feel when unboxing it can provide a rush like pulling the lever of a slot machine or scratching off a lottery ticket. Their order has finally arrived, and they can’t wait to have a look at it.

Even when customers know the contents of a package they’ve just received, the giddy sense of anticipation they feel when unboxing it can provide a rush like pulling the lever of a slot machine or scratching off a lottery ticket. Their order has finally arrived, and they can’t wait to have a look at it. 

The excitement of opening a parcel package is so powerful and universally shared that unboxing channels devoted solely to that experience consistently rank among the most popular on YouTube, with some posts racking up hundreds of millions of views. The videos allow customers to share their feelings about a brand and provide first impressions of the product. Every time a package is opened on YouTube, the customer’s satisfaction or disappointment is shaping how that brand or product is perceived, so scrimping on packaging can leave a lot on the table for online retailers.

A Better Consumer Shopping Experience

Even before customers open the box, they have begun having an emotional response to their shopping experience, according to a new study by Pregis and the University of Wisconsin. Participants in the study consistently gave the online retailer points for presentation, driving home the benefits of investing in premium packaging materials when it comes to the unboxing experience.

In the original Pregis study, two separate test groups received the same product but were not told its retail price. One group’s product was packaged in premium packaging and the other’s in economy packaging.

Participants expected the retail price of the same product packaged in premium packaging to be, on average, an astounding 45 percent higher than the one packaged in the economy packaging. Since the premium packaging cost a small fraction of a dollar more per parcel than the economy packaging, the huge difference in the perceived value of the product easily justifies the cost.

But just as important was the difference in the two groups’ emotional responses to receiving the same product. The data strongly suggest that the premium group will be much more likely to shop from that retailer again because they’ve had a better shopping experience than the economy group.

The study revealed that participants felt 31 percent more “letdown” by economy packaging than premium. How much did the upgraded packaging impact feelings of joy and trust? Read our white paper to find out.

 

Sizing Up Packaging’s Emotional Response

Participants in both groups were also asked to rate five different emotions regarding their shopping experience on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 indicating “not at all” and 7 indicating “very much.” With each of the five emotions that were measured – trust, excitement, frustration, joy, and letdown – the group receiving the premium packages reported being more satisfied with their purchase.


“When a retailer gets the unboxing experience right, they demonstrate that the product is valuable and worth protecting. Consumers recognize that signal, and it influences their perception of quality. As eCommerce continues to be the growth engine for retail, retailers and brands must understand their new showplace is the parcel packaging.”“There is strong evidence that the unboxing experience impacts customers’ emotions and their perceptions of product value,” said Page Moreau, a marketing professor for the University of Wisconsin who helped run the study. 

To learn more about packaging’s impact on consumer emotions and shopping experience, download our in-depth white paper, “Parcel Packaging Impacts Consumer’s Perception of Product Value by 45%,” at www.pregis.com/knowledge-hub.