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Frugal fashionistas: 6 million Aussies have bought an imitation product on purpose


Millions of consumers are purchasing cheaper alternatives to popular products in order to save on costs, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,096 respondents revealed almost 1 in 3 (29%) Australians – equivalent to 5.9 million people – have bought a "dupe" of a popular product in the last 12 months.

Clothing (13%), shoes (10%), and beauty products (9%) top the list of imitation products Australians have gotten their hands on in the past year.

Of those who bought an alternative cheaper product, 3 in 4 (77%) were happy with the quality of the item.

On the other hand, the remaining 23% were not happy with the quality of their knock-off.

Angus Kidman, shopping expert at Finder, said "dupe" products, short for duplicate, are cheaper alternatives to popular favourites.

"Almost anything can be duped. If you don't want to pay top dollar for a specific brand-name item, a dupe is an appealing alternative.

"From handbags to sunnies to jewellery, you can get the look without the huge price tag.

"It's a money-saving tactic but has since turned into a 'run, don't walk' trend with viral products selling out almost immediately in stores such as Kmart."

Gen Z (55%) were almost 3 times as likely as gen X (20%) to have purchased a knock-off product in the past 12 months.

Women (34%) were also more likely than men (24%) to say they've bought a dupe of a popular product.

Kidman said the viral phenomenon shows that you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on a brand-name item, because there's almost always a cheaper alternative on the market.

"High-quality materials are often more expensive and can be far more durable than their counterparts but that's not to say they're always the best option.

"Branding often tricks people into mindlessly spending unreasonably, and sometimes there's little difference in quality despite a big difference in price."

Kidman said you also have to weigh up the cost of wear you're going to get out of the item.

"Sometimes spending more on a quality item that you're going to get more wear out of can save you money in the long-run, as opposed to something that's in one season and out the next.

"Equally, spending hundreds of dollars on dinnerware you only use on special occasions doesn't make sense," Kidman said.

Have you bought a knock-off or "dupe" of a popular product in the past 12 months?
Beauty products9%
No, I have not bought a knock-off or "dupe" of a popular product in the past 12 months71%
Source: Finder survey of 1,096 respondents, July 2023
Were you happy with the quality of the knock-off/dupe item?
Source: Finder survey of 320 respondents who purchased a knock-off or "dupe" of a popular product in the past 12 months, July 2023
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