The Dupes Endemic, Explained

The Dupes Endemic, Explained

Fake goods are seemingly everywhere nowadays. And for cash-strapped shoppers, they’re proving to be especially enticing.

Last year, an EU survey found that 37% of 15- to 24-year-olds knowingly purchased at least one fake product in 2022 (up from 14% in 2019). These purchases were mostly accessories, electronics, and sneakers.

  • 48% said they did so because of price
  • 27% just didn’t care about the product being fake
  • 24% didn’t believe there was a material difference from the genuine item

Meanwhile, 32% of US consumers consider it acceptable to knowingly purchase counterfeit clothing, jewelry, and leather goods.

The logic? Why spend $10.2k on a genuine Chanel flap bag (up $4.4k from 2012) when you can buy a copy for $55 on the Chinese site DHgate?

Especially when (as many angry resale buyers can attest) these dupes can fool even the most well-trained eye. And fake luxury goods are not new or rare. (Just walk down Manhattan’s Canal Street.)

That said, most luxury brands (read: billion-dollar companies) are fine despite dealing with dupes for centuries. For instance, French fashion house LVMH reached a market cap of $486B in April, briefly breaking into the world’s top 10 companies.

But this growing interest in dupes – driven primarily by social media and third-party marketplaces – is making it easier for counterfeiters to set up shop online. And smaller, fast-growing businesses are increasingly the target.

In fact, the expansion of TikTok’s shopping functionality has directly correlated with an increase in counterfeit sales. And The Guardian reported that 9 out of the first 12 search results for “perfume” in TikTok Shop appeared to be fake.

Similarly, a 2019 Wall Street Journal investigation found that Amazon listed “thousands of banned, unsafe, or mislabeled products.” (Think: Everything from expired baby formula to electronics with fake certifications.)

Amazon reportedly disposed of 6 million counterfeit items in 2022 alone. But this number barely scratches the surface of the counterfeits and copycats available.

Incopro found that 26% of people in the US have accidentally bought at least one counterfeit product in the past year.

And when they do, your brand pays the cost.

How so? Every time someone buys a fake version of your product, you miss out on a sale.

Plus, 52% of consumers confirm that this experience leads them to lose trust in the brand they thought they were buying – even if they purchased the counterfeit through an unrelated third party.

So, what can you do about it?

  1. Report scams related to your product. To do this, search for your products followed by the word “cheap” on Google. (You can also add common locations for these scams, like “Amazon” or “TikTok” at the end of the search query for good measure.) The results should surface any scams involving your product’s name so you can report them.
  2. Build out your brand’s seller page. For any third-party site you sell on (yes, like Amazon or social sites), make sure to fully build out your brand’s profile. That way, you can confirm that you are the real deal and establish trust with customers before they hit “buy.”