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2 Stats That Show How Popular Luxury Dupes Are With Gen Z & Millennials

Gen Z and Millennials are interested in luxury products that are affordable and accessible. And these stats also show they’re not against just buying fakes instead of the real thing…


YPulse told you about the luxury brands that young consumers want to own, but while young people are certainly interested in luxury goods, the reality is not all can afford to buy them. In fact, our recent luxury report found that 47% of 13-39-year-olds say they haven’t ever purchased a luxury product, and the top reason they haven’t is because  they can’t afford them.It’s no wonder the majority agree, “Luxury brands should make some affordable items so more people could own them.” But these creative generations are of course finding other ways to make luxury items more attainable.

The luxury resale market has been fuelled by young consumers, and one major appeal is getting luxury products at a lower price. YPulse’s behavioral data found that 33% of 13-39-year-olds shop for secondhand luxury items, while research from The Real Real found sold out pieces attract 50% more new buyers than regular resale items, with some of the sought after brands being Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. But finding lower priced high-end labels isn’t the only way young consumers are getting their hands on luxury: they’re also faking it. “Dupes” (a.k.a cheaper imitations of luxe items from an affordable brand) have become a popular trend  on social media in recent years. The verified @dupethat account has 1.2 million followers on Instagram, while Amazing Dupes and lifestyle publications are constantly offering advice and tips for where to get the best dupes of luxury items. CNBC reported that teens on TikTok have been showing off fake products from Gucci, Chanel, Lululemon, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and a variety of other luxury brands, and hashtags like #makeupdupes and #dupes have millions of views on TikTok. But how many young consumers are actually buying them, and what does this mean for brands? Our recent luxury report dug in to find out:

Almost half of young consumers have purchased a dupe. 

We told you that the top reason young consumers haven’t bought a luxury item is simply because they can’t afford it. So, instead, they’re turning to dupes. Forty-seven percent of 13-39-year-olds tell us they have purchased a dupe or fake of a luxury product—and when the trend of teens showing off their knockoff luxury goods on TikTok took off, cost-conscious young people were flocking to sites like Amazon, AliExpress, and DHGat to obtain dupes. Our research found that females are even more likely to say they have purchased a dupe, with 52% saying they have compared to 42% of young males. And the same number of young people in Western Europe also tell us they’ve purchased dupes, signaling that the interest and buying of dupes or fake products is happening all over the world. While young shoppers in North America might prefer owning real luxury goods, clearly they’re also happy to get a just-like-the-real-thing product. But while dupes may be great for young shoppers, they’re probably not good news for luxury brands…

More than half of young consumers say the quality of dupe / fake luxury items makes them less likely to want to buy the real thing.
Our behavioral research found that 53% of 13-39-year-olds say the quality of dupe / luxury items make them less likely to want to purchase a real luxury item, with young females again more likely than males to find dupes appealing. Some of the apps that have launched to help young shoppers find dupes more easily are focused on skincare and makeup. Brandefy, which “streamlines” the process of finding dupes launched during the pandemic and quickly became one of the “emerging paths to product discovery with its format focused on recommending affordable dupes.” It offers a “curated library of low-priced alternatives,” for beauty products and breaks down the similarities and differences regarding performance, packaging, and ingredients compared to designer products. For instance, some of the products the app has recommended to users include E.l.f’s $16 16 HR Camo Concealer, which is listed as an “80% match” for Tarte’s $27 Shape Tape product. The app reported that they saw a 330% year-over-year growth in new user accounts in 2020 and have nearly half a million downloads, with 85% of their users under the age of 34 and a “significant portion” still in college. Meanwhile, SkinSkool is an online beauty comparison site that allows users to use an algorithm to help them find the best deals, including dupes of expensive skincare products. Dupes have become an easy way for young people to feel like they’re getting the quality of a luxury item without the high price tag, and it’s clear that many are buying in. There’s a cottage industry being built around dupe information and content, and while luxury brands may fight it, these are clear signs that having accessible entry points to high end products is necessary for capturing Gen Z and Millennial shoppers.

YPulse Business users can access the full Luxury behavioral report and data here.

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