Trustpilot announcements
November 9, 2023

49% of American Gen Z and Millennial social media users have been scammed purchasing a viral ‘dupe’ product

Results highlight the key purchasing habits of Gen Z and Millennial consumers via social media and the lasting impact of ‘viral’ and ‘dupe’ trends

November 9, 2023, New York, USA – Today, global online consumer review platform Trustpilot released its ‘Viral Shopping Trends’ survey, revealing ‘viral’ and ‘dupe’ products are gaining a reputation across Gen Z and Millennial social media users in the US as being ‘scam-worthy.’ While the appetite to purchase these products continues to increase with the influence of social media creators, frustration is at an all-time high. In fact, while 70% of respondents agree they use social media now more than ever before to shop and 69% have bought a product after seeing it go viral on social media, the popular viral ‘dupes’ are falling short, with nearly half (49%) stating they’ve been scammed from purchasing one.

‘Dupes,’ otherwise known as duplicates, are recreated products, such as perfume, makeup, and clothing, resembling high-end originals but at much lower price points. The survey states ‘dupes’ are typically discovered through social media influencers (55%) or through promoted posts/advertisements on social media platforms (49%), which has led to half of Gen Z and Millennial social media users purchasing one. 

There is a stigma that ‘dupe’ scams are often from unknown brands, but 53 percent of those who reported having been scammed by a ‘dupe’ purchase say it was from a familiar brand/retailer. 34 percent also stated being unable to return the item or get their money back. Unfortunately, these scams have led to increased blame and lack of trust in some cases, with 28 percent blaming the company selling the product, 28 percent blaming the influencer who posted about it, and another 32 percent even saying it made them lose trust in small brands altogether. 

54 percent of respondents say they are willing to purchase items from a company they’ve never heard of in order to save money, yet nearly 1 in 5 (18%) feel money was lost purchasing ‘dupes’ compared to the ‘genuine’ product. For those who stated being scammed as a result of purchasing a ‘dupe’:

  • 38% said the item wasn’t the quality shown/described

  • 26% the item arrived damaged

  • 24% the item never arrived

  • 14% had allergic reactions from it 

  • 9% ended up needing medical treatment after use 

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

Diving in deeper around Gen Z and Millennial ‘dupes’ purchases: 

  • To find the best ‘dupes’, 50% use TikTok, 48% Facebook, 42% Instagram, and 42% YouTube 

  • Regarding the common sales of ‘dupes’, most often they’re being purchased from Amazon (44%), Facebook (31%), TikTok (39%), Instagram (23%), eBay (13%), Shein (13%), and Target (12%)

  • The categories these generational consumers trust the most for purchasing ‘dupes’ include fashion (33%), household items (30%), and beauty (26%) 

  • 90% agree that impressive-looking videos have led them to purchase through a social media platform 


Notes to Editors


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from OnePoll. Total sample size was 1,000 U.S. Gen Z and Millennial adult social media users. Fieldwork was undertaken between October 20–26, 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults age 18+. 

About Trustpilot

Trustpilot was founded in 2007 with a vision to create an independent currency of trust. A digital platform that brings businesses and consumers together to foster trust and inspire collaboration. We are free to use, open to everybody, and built on transparency. Trustpilot hosts reviews to help consumers shop with confidence and deliver rich insights to help businesses improve the experience they offer. The more consumers use our platform and share their own opinions, the richer the insights we offer businesses, and the more opportunities they have to earn the trust of consumers, from all around the world.

 Over 213 million consumer reviews of businesses and products of over 893,000 domains have been posted on Trustpilot, and those numbers are growing by more than one review per second.  

Trustpilot has over 850 employees and is headquartered in Copenhagen, with operations in New York, Denver, London, Edinburgh, Melbourne, Berlin, Vilnius, Milan, and Amsterdam. 

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