The estimated $57 billion in retail sales from the Thanksgiving weekend have left their mark on the Internet — in the form of 6,000 more shopper haul videos on YouTube.
YouTube tells BuzzFeed there are now more than 800,000 videos on its platform with “haul” in the title, and their combined views exceed those on “Gangnam Style,” the insanely viral South Korean music video that recently passed 1.8 billion views. (To put that in context, there are about 780,000 videos with “tiger” in the title.) And nearly 400,000 of the haul videos have been uploaded this year alone, YouTube says.
Haul videos, for the uninitiated, are a genre of online video in which people show off their new purchases of clothing, accessories and more, for the benefit of other Internet users. They come in many flavors: Topshop haul, drugstore beauty haul, even Yankee Candle haul. They have become tremendously popular in recent years, with some video bloggers landing high-paying sponsorships and ad deals after their clips garner hundreds of thousands of views. Plus, it’s only become easier for shoppers to film themselves on computers, tablets and cell phones.
Because part of the excitement around haul videos is sharing what you got and, often, how much you spent on it, Thanksgiving weekend, the holy grail of killer deals, invited a bunch of uploads. The 6,000 haul videos added between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1 compares with 3,600 in the similar four-day period after Thanksgiving last year, according to data from YouTube, despite early reads that sales from the holiday weekend fell by about 3%. Indeed, a quick search for “Black Friday Haul” yields a slew of videos featuring bags from stores like Sephora, Bath & Body Works and Old Navy, many with at least 200,000 views.
Brands are clearly taking note of how customers — many of them young women — are pursuing the social experience of shopping in this digital fashion. Target has made multiple plays on haul videos featuring talking animals sharing their purchases, publishing a holiday version last week that starred two talking dogs named Fritz and Chico.
Other brands may be capitalizing on the audience for such videos by targeting ads tied to related keywords. Some of the ads that showed up before and on the most popular haul videos were for Sephora, Ulta, Infants’ Tylenol, L’Oreal mascara, Zoom teeth whitening and a home cleaning website.
It stands to reason that in a year when retailers are discounting more heavily than in the past, shoppers are more eager than ever to talk about the deals they got. While Cyber Monday sales may have hit a record $2.3 billion yesterday, according to Adobe, the new wave of haul videos will have to wait to be filmed until the boxes arrive.