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Almost Half of Young Consumers Have Been Tricked by ‘Dupe’ Products – WWD

Not all viral shopping trends are worth jumping on, in fact, new survey data from Trustpilot reveals that ‘viral’ and ‘dupe’ products on social media are being deemed as ‘scam-worthy’ by many Gen Z and Millennial shoppers.

According to Trustpilot, the online reviews platform, a rising appetite to purchase “viral” or “dupe” items under the influence of social media creators is paralleled with frustration reaching an all-time high. The company’s survey, which polled 1,000 U.S. Gen Z and Millennial adult social media users, found that 70 percent of consumers report using more social media than ever to shop and 69 percent have bought a product that has gone viral.

But those viral-popular “dupe” products aren’t hitting the mark. Nearly half (49 percent) of consumers have been “scammed” purchasing a dupe product on social media with 53 percent of these consumers saying the purchase was made from a familiar brand or retailer. These dupe purchases ranged from perfume and makeup to apparel and household items, all resembling high-end originals at lower prices. Notably, as previously reported by WWD, social media has become a thriving landscape for counterfeit products.

When declaring an item a “dupe” or reporting feeling scammed, 38 percent said the item wasn’t the quality shown/described, 26 percent said the item arrived damaged and 24 percent said the item never arrived. More seriously, another 14 percent also reported having an allergic reaction to the product and 9 percent said they needed medical treatment after using the product.

Typically, said the authors of Trustpilot’s report, “dupes” are discovered through social media influencers (55 percent) and promoted posts (49 percent). More than 90 percent of survey respondents agreed that “impressive-looking videos” have led them to purchase through a social media platform.

However, often, these scam purchases lead to increased blame and lack of trust with 28 percent placing blame on the brand/retailer and 28 percent blaming an influencer. Another 32 percent also reported that the experience made them lose trust in small brands altogether.

While the decision to purchase “dupes” stems from trying to save money, the effect is often the opposite. More than half (54 percent) of consumers said they are willing to purchase items from a company they have never heard of to save money, however, 18 percent also said they feel money was lost in purchasing “dupes” over the genuine product. Thirty-four percent of survey respondents also said they were unable to return the dupe item or get their money back.

“The current economic environment has consumers continuing to look for ways to tighten their budgets, such as choosing less expensive alternatives to popular, more costly products,” said Dana Bodine, U.S. vice president of marketing at Trustpilot. “The rise of social shopping has been fueled by the evolution of new technologies and platforms making it easier for consumers to share and shop for products they love that won’t break the bank. On the flip side, many consumers recognize these lower-cost items often aren’t as they expected or built to last.”

Bodine notes that 78 percent of the company’s survey respondents shared that they had “left a review after being scammed to warn others of making the same mistake, showing just how important it is to do one’s research using open and independent review platforms, where businesses can’t control or manipulate consumers’ experiences.”

As Gen Z and Millennials shop, platforms to find the “best dupes” were revealed as TikTok (50 percent), Facebook (48 percent), Instagram (42 percent) and YouTube (42 percent). At the same time, common sales of “dupes” are reported as found most often from Amazon (44 percent), Facebook (31 percent), TikTok (39 percent), Instagram (23 percent), eBay (13 percent), Shein (13 percent) and Target (12 percent).

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