Have you ever been in a situation where you can not wait to get your hands on a product, but the price tag is way too high? For customers who wish to save rather than splurge, dupes are the best friend. (A dupe is a cheaper and comparable alternative to a typically higher-end product.) We can quickly search for dupes of popular products that are more affordable and accessible to get similar results. Dupe products thrive off the success of sold-out, pricy, or discontinued products. We typically see the prominence of dupe products and brands in the fashion and beauty industries. From a customer's perspective, dupe products are all the best. However, have you ever stopped to think about the effects of duping products on the other side of the coin?
What started as an economical way to attain a rather expensive result has become a trend. The pandemic left everyone financially sensible; we all sought more financially conscious prices. Economically prone consumers have fed the dupe culture. Social media, for example, has driven the evolution of this trend. Influencers have gained thousands, if not millions, of views by comparing beauty and fashion dupes. The hashtag #dupe has 1.5 billion reproductions on TikTok, with thousands of creators getting praised for showcasing their favorite dupes. We have seen everything from dupe products (Kylie Cosmetic's Lip Kits and Charlotte Tilbury's Beauty Light Wand) to dupe brands (Shien and Urban Gal). Despite the dupe culture's heavy traction online, it is not all sunshine and rainbows for everyone. The dupe culture has taken a toll on the copied brands and the environment.
The Consequences for a Duped Brand
A great deal of creativity, blood, sweat, and tears is what it takes to bring a vision to life. Brands that create their product from scratch incur a great ton of costs. For example, research and development, manufacturing, marketing, and logistics are key players in a product's successful launch and sales. All of these steps need investment and capital to exist. Not to mention the idea, envisioned impact, and effort behind the tangible costs.
When a dupe product comes into view, it quickly shadows an original product. Consumers are driven to purchase the cheaper and more accessible version of an item for the same results. Leaving the authentic product with lower sales, reach, and impact. At the same time, original products may not always cover the overhead costs of a business. Dupes negatively affect the performance of a brand's sales, operation, and overall profit.
The Ramifications for the environment
Dupes are equally as dangerous as fast fashion. The dupe culture promotes consumerism without environmental awareness. Take into consideration the amount of cloth, plastic bags, bottles, and boxes that end up in landfills as a result of instant purchases. Most of the packaging used for dupe products is non-recyclable and wasteful. Remember, dupes are all about lower prices. Therefore sellers don't put much thought into the afterlife of their copycat product.
It is a given that we all love cheaper versions of our favorite products. However, before succumbing to the dupe trend, we must be aware of the repercussions behind them.