Shoppers Flaunt New Purchases to World in Bizarre Haul Videos

The latest shopping trend: sharing all your new purchases with strangers. Photo via TwitterThe Internet has become all about oversharing, even more so this holiday season with the insane amount of Black Friday shopping hauls on YouTube. A network of everyday women — who have garnered a following of like-minded style lovers on the web — have posted at least 800,000 videos, and more than 6,000 were uploaded over Thanksgiving weekend alone. Whether hitting up big chain stores or their local strip malls, thousands flocked to YouTube to flaunt their discounted bounties for viewers. Shoppers spent an estimated $57 billion 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 purchases to the world? For some it may be a form of public bragging or the mere thrill of landing great bargains, while others may want to educate fellow consumers about products. Some of the ultrapopular 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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"Videos uploaded to YouTube with 'haul' in the title have almost doubled over the past four years,"  YouTube spokesperson Chelsea Maughan tells 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 video has attracted more than 1.3 million views, while Miss Glamorazzi's clip has nearly 700,000 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," Maughan says. "Twenty-eight percent of video researchers spent more than $500 on apparel in the past six months, while only 2 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-idays" clip featuring two dogs named Fritz and Chico. Brands are also running their ads at the beginning of a haul video or alongside 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," Maughan added. "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 videos to research and share their interests. In terms of shopping and purchases, it's the next level in product reviews, showcasing authenticity and individuality. Lindsey Hughes (user name beautybaby44) of Los Angeles made the rounds on Black Friday back home in Atlanta with her sister Meghan (username MissMeghanMakeup). 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 more than 348,000 views combined. "I think all girls like showing their friends what they just bought at the mall," says Hughes in an email to Shine. "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 its 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 Davenport (username leighannsays) of Houston who hit up her local outlet mall. Her YouTube post received 52,000 views. "Haul videos are entertaining and helpful because they show what trends are out there and how real girls are shopping," she says. "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 garnered more than 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.

Aside from young shopping addicts, those who abhor Black Friday can also live vicariously through haul videos … or continue to shake their heads.

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