As the holiday shopping season gets underway, top-sellers from Lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Birkenstock are competing for shoppers and their growing love affair with TikTok-popularised ‘dupes’ – sufficiently similar replicas of higher-priced products.
Sales of some popular, high-end products are being negatively impacted by the growing market for lookalikes and the reduction in spending brought on by inflation.
On TikTok, hashtag searches for prominent brand dupes, such as Deckers’ Ugg boots and Skim knickers, have received millions of views. Influencers who frequently accept incentives to promote comparable, alternative goods from discount stores like Walmart and Target.
Experts believe it’s hard to estimate how much market share dupes may take from the actual products this holiday season because they are so freely available from so many different merchants. According to Leslie Ghize, executive vice president of retail consulting firm Doneger Tobe, ‘commodity’ products that are simple to copy are most vulnerable, including name-brand cosmetics, fragrances, and mid-range apparel and footwear.
According to a Circana Inc. study of 3,429 people, 28 per cent of American customers said they intend to offer a cosmetic product, such as perfume, as a Christmas present, while 55 per cent said they plan to give apparel, shoes, or accessories.
In May, Lululemon, whose sales increased by 18 per cent in the second quarter over the previous year, held a two-day ‘dupe swap’ event in Los Angeles where customers could exchange their lookalikes for Align leggings. Lululemon chose not to respond. In June, Chief Executive Officer Calvin McDonald informed investors that over 50 per cent of the attendees at the dupe swap were first-time Lululemon customers under the age of thirty.