It’s no secret that our day-to-day activities adapt with evolving technology. In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping behavior skyrocketed and continues to grow today. US ecommerce sales reached $959.9 billion in 2021, growing 18% since 2020. Shoppers are turning to the internet, now more than ever, to complete their shopping experiences.

The shopping space on YouTube has gained 158B views all-time across over 406K channels and over 6M videos. Over time, YouTube has found its spot in the lifecycle of the shopping experience through inspiration, research, and pathways to purchase.


Hauls and ‘Shop with Me’ are YouTube video content types that spark inspiration in the shopping experience for YouTube viewers. These videos typically show viewers new products they haven’t seen before or that are new favorites of their choice influencers.

Hauls are videos of creators showing a sizable amount of products that they’ve purchased or received from brands. Pixability research shows that Haul videos in 2022 have a nearly 2X higher engagement rate than top shopping content (2.58% vs 1.48%).

‘Shop with Me’ videos are more of a vlogging-style and show influencers shopping through stores. Pixability research shows that of the top Shopping content on YouTube, Hauls make up 14% of views and ‘Shop with Me’ makes up 18% of views.


Once consumers know what they want, the second step of the YouTube shopping lifecycle is to conduct research on which brand or product to choose. YouTube is a hub for product reviews from creators, which help consumers make conscious and educated buying decisions. One of the most popular review categories are unboxings and reviews.

Unboxing videos allow viewers to see what they will be buying before they purchase, typically providing a full review of the features and the pros and cons of the product. Pixability research found that 35% of top shopping content were Unboxing videos, which was the highest share of any shopping category. Even more impressive, Unboxing videos earned 45% of top shopping views, a 27% greater view share than the next leading shopping category, “Shop with Me”. The average unboxing video in the last year (Sept. 2021- Sept 2022) earned an engagement rate 75% higher than the average all-time shopping video (2.59% vs 1.48%).

The success of reviews on YouTube comes from the trust that consumers have with creators, as 89% of viewers agree that YouTube creators give them the best information about products and brands. Product reviews can cover almost all shopping categories, with technology, makeup, clothing, skincare, and video games being among the most popular industries. Knowing that there are so many users doing active product research, should give brands the confidence to advertise on YouTube.

Pathways to Purchase

After getting inspiration and conducting research, viewers are ready to make a purchase. YouTube viewers use the trusted advice from creators to determine which products to buy. Creators now make it easy for viewers to find the products that are mentioned in their videos by adding links (organic or affiliate) to the video description that takes them to a website’s product page to continue the purchase journey. Creators also add links to their own brand lines or promo codes.

YouTube will continue to be a large part of the online shopping experience, as it just launched its partnership with ecommerce powerhouse Shopify in July 2022. The partnership allows eligible creators to link their Shopify to their YouTube channel, creating a live shopping experience without leaving YouTube.