Lookalikes of Cartier rings, Gucci slides, Louis Vuitton purses, among other designer goods, can be found on TikTok for well under $50. A new genre of TikTok content features millennials promoting their latest “dupes” of luxury goods. These short 30-second videos teach users how to find so-called “dupes” on e-commerce websites like DHgate, Aliexpress, and Amazon.
A single search under the hashtag DHGate on TikTok reveals 110.8 million views filled with videos sharing replicas of luxury brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, and Dior, among many others, at only a fraction of the cost. Not only do these goods fall under $50; in many cases, they come with authentic-looking boxes and dust bags. According to CNBC, 71 percent of Gen Z-ers in the U.S. had purchased a counterfeit good over the past year, with apparel and footwear being among the most-purchased types of fakes.
What millennials deem to be dupes and knockoffs are actually illegal counterfeit goods and a violation of intellectual property rights. Counterfeits are defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as “goods intended to trick consumers who rely on brand names and logos when deciding to buy.” Luxury fashion is a segment of the market that not only relies on brand names and logos but is defined by its exclusivity-something that millennials are finding their way around.
This trend making its way to the top of many TikTok algorithms demonstrates a generation obsessed with a certain appearance and façade on social media. By 2025, millennials will represent 40% of the global personal luxury goods. Some may splurge for high-quality, while some may seek fake goods from overseas.
The question remains, who is to be held accountable for the promotion of illegal counterfeit goods? Should TikTok be responsible? Should individual content creators be responsible? Or, should e-commerce websites be held accountable for the goods sold on their websites? In the past, the line of fault has not always been clear, and the prevalence of social media has not made it any clearer.
Some brands like Louis Vuitton invest in anti-counterfeiting departments in order to aggressively prevent their image from tarnishing in the light of fake goods. LVMH alone spends $17 million annually on anti-counterfeiting litigation. Some e-commerce companies like Amazon have vouched to provide information about counterfeit goods and report any information the company may have about counterfeit transactions.