The internet has become all about oversharing, and this holiday season the big trend is showing off Black Friday shopping hauls on YouTube. There are over 800,000 videos on the network of people revealing their retail purchases. Half of those were made in 2013, and over 6,000 of them were uploaded over Thanksgiving weekend. Whether hitting up big chain stores or their local strip malls, thousands of women flocked to YouTube to flaunt their discounted bounties for viewers. An estimated $57 billion was spent over the holiday weekend, so clearly there was a lot of merchandise to present.
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Why exactly are ladies rushing to show off their shopping hauls to the world? For some it may be a form of public bragging or the mere thrill of landing great bargains, while others are looking to educate fellow consumers about products. Some of the ultra popular video bloggers, or vloggers, are actually getting paid big bucks by sponsors and advertisers to squeeze a brand mention into their haul videos.
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"Video uploaded to YouTube with 'haul' in the title have almost doubled year over year over the past four years," a YouTube spokesperson told Yahoo Shine. "People are changing the way they research and purchase, and online is an integral part of the shopping process. Haul videos have become a virtual fitting room." In the past five days, vlogger Bethany Mota's Black Friday haul video has attracted over 1.3 million views, while Miss Glamorazzi's Black Friday haul video has nearly 700k views. And these hauls are leading directly to sales. "Four in 10 shoppers visited a store online or in-person as a direct result of watching a video online, and they're valuable customers. Twenty-eight percent of video researchers spent more than $500 on apparel in the past six months,
while only two percent of non-video researchers did."
The stores themselves are now keenly aware of these shopping videos, with brands like Target creating their own mock "Happy Haul-days" clip with two dogs named Fritz and Chico. Brands also run their ads at the beginning of a haul video or along side of it. "One of the reasons why our study found YouTube to be so successful in driving sales is because users can click any ad they see and go directly to the retailer's website to purchase," says a YouTube spokesperson. "If you're watching a video and see a necklace you like, you're a click away from having it shipped to your doorstep."
With the current youthful generation of shoppers growing up with YouTube, they now turn to the video format to research and share their interests. In terms of shopping and purchases, it's the next level in product reviews that showcases authenticity and individuality. Lindsey Hughes (user name beautybaby44) of Los Angeles, California made the rounds on Black Friday back home in Atlanta, Georgia with her sister Meaghan (username MissMeaghanMakeup). Together they hit up chain stores like Victoria's Secret, Sephora, Target, Zara, Ulta, and Bath & Body Works and then uploaded a two-part Black Friday haul on their YouTube channels, garnering over 348,000 combined. "I think all girls like showing their friends what they just bought at the mall," says Lindsay Hughes. "I posted an Instagram photo of my sister and I out shopping, and nearly every comment said 'haul!" I think it's the thrill of this one day a year dedicated to shopping. You just have to see what everyone bought!" Her major score: saving nearly $100 at Ulta thanks to their many buy-one-get-one-free offers. Hughes says she's always shared purchases with friends, so revealing them to viewers on YouTube was the next natural step.
"Most girls love Black Friday and shopping in general so why not share the love?" says Leigh Ann (username leighannsays) of Houston, Texas, who hit up her local outlet mall. Her following YouTube post was viewed over 52,000 times. "Haul videos are entertaining and helpful because they show what trends are out there and how real girls are shopping. My favorite Black Friday score was my new Kate Spade handbag that I got for over half off. I'm totally in love with it."
Shannon Harris of Auckland, New Zealand also shared her Black Friday haul under the name Shaaanxo, and her video received over 67,000 views. "I can show people what the items look like in real life-well, on video-and I can try items on or use those items," says Harris. "I think it helps viewers a lot since buying things online can be a bit tricky. It also gives people a good idea of where to keep an eye out next year for sales, and it almost feels like you are shopping with a friend without spending a cent." Harris has developed a fan base of over 629,000 subscribers, and says showing off her purchases also allows people to learn more about her personal style. Weylie Hoang (username ilikeweylie) of Los Angeles, California, said her fan base requested a Black Friday haul video. She enjoys sharing the deals she got like the buy-one-get-one sales at Foreign Exchange on Black Friday. "I love watching haul videos myself. It's fun watching what other people buy and how they incorporate items in their wardrobe," she says. Her video received 90,000 views.
Aside from young shopping addicts, those who abhor Black Friday can also live vicariously through haul videos… or continue to shake their heads.