How to grow your ecommerce beauty brand using the dupe mentality

Thought to be a result of increasing living costs, the dupe phenomenon—which centres low cost versions of luxury beauty and skincare products—is on the rise.

When financial times are lean, customers want formulations made with quality ingredients that are available for purchase at an accessible price point. This is where the concept of the dupe comes in: a low-cost, high-performing product your clientele will rave about. In this article, we’ll explore why successfully developing and marketing a dupe product on your ecommerce platform can lead to bigger sales and customer retention.

Selling dupe products is a fast way to ramp up your sales in the beauty market

Dupe sales: a rapidly growing market

With inflation levels continuing to rise, interest rates, food costs, and gas prices have continued to soar alongside them. As a result, many people have had to cut down on non-essentials despite income rates holding fairly steady. The non-essential category has grown to include the beauty and skincare industry, with a recent study finding that 38% of customers shopping for beauty and personal care items would have to buy fewer items if prices continued to rise over a 6 month period.

As living expenses increase, customers have become more likely to seek out and purchase beauty and skincare dupes at a reduced price point. These dupes are lower cost products modelled after high end products and are typically sold online or in a drugstore (in other words, not at a makeup counter).

Offering a dupe product (or two!) as part of your beauty or skincare line will not only ensure a wider range of customers are able to enjoy your wares, its inclusion could help expand your brand’s reach in other ways. 

The dupe trend by numbers

Online searches for dupe products have skyrocketed, with queries for “dupe + skin care” increasing by 123.5% and “dupe + makeup” growing by another 31%. Glossy reports that Google searches for the word “dupe” alone rose by 40% in 2022.

Dupes based on Clinique’s iconic Black Honey lipstick, a famous shade that has been gracing lips since 1971, are the number one dupe product search according to Google. Each month, Google fields roughly 16,200 requests in search of this blackberry-hued dupe.

One survey found that 74% of makeup users agree with the statement that dupe makeup or less expensive makeup works just as well as its high end version. Related findings showed that one-third of customers between the ages of 25-34 had purchased a dupe product after seeing it on social media.

It’s important to note that the dupe market doesn’t seem to be having any ill effect on sales of higher priced beauty and skincare products. In fact, data collected between July 2022 and June 2023 show that sales for both dupes and higher priced cosmetics brands rose—showing that there is a place in the market for both price points. 

Why do customers opt-in for dupes?

The most common reasons cited for buying dupes include the following:

  • Affordability. On survey found that 44% of buyers bought dupes because the high-end products were out of their price range.
  • Better value. Out of those surveyed, 27% of the consumers purchased dupes because they believed the product had better value for their money.
  • Distrust of high end products and pricing. Again, 27% of customers don’t  believe high-end cosmetics are worth the price.

Selling dupe beauty and skincare products through your ecommerce store

As it turns out, the benefits of including dupe skincare and beauty products in your original line are significant. In addition to being a lower cost/higher value option on your site, dupes can help expand your business in the following ways:

  • It lowers the cost of entry in new categories. Selling dupe products is a fantastic way to introduce your customers to your beauty and skincare line. For example, someone might try a BB cream for the first time at a lower price point. If they like it, they might continue to buy a similar product at a higher price point. According to a survey conducted by Dupeshop, 98% of customers stated that their use of dupes led to an expansion of their beauty routines.
  • The formula has already been proven to work. Whether you choose one of Blanka’s unbranded beauty and skincare products or concoct a custom formulation using Blanka Labs, you can be sure that our ingredients and  products have been stringently tested according to the latest safety standards and protocols.

How to develop and market dupes to customers

Want to spread the word about your amazing dupe products? Check out these tips for marketing lower cost, high quality items in your shop:

  • Dupes are an inherently online product, meaning you’ll need the support of social media and other online communities to build awareness about what you’re selling.  
  • When establishing an online presence for your brand, take advantage of hashtags. The hashtags #dupemakeup, #dupecosmetics, and #dupehaircare pull up videos with millions of views on TikTok and YouTube.
  • For maximum impact, start a YouTube channel. One Google study found that YouTube was the number one medium for watching beauty content for women between the ages of 18-54.
  • Reach out to influencers! One survey found that 67% of beauty shoppers say they look to influencers for new product ideas.
  • When creating content for your website or socials, focus on information that portrays good value such as cost-per-use, ingredient spotlights, the shelf-life of the item in question, community reviews, before and after photos, as well as product demos.
  • Follow influencers in your product niche to gain insider knowledge on upcoming beauty trends! From matte lipstick to niacinamide vitamin serum and custom formulations, you can be sure that whatever the trend, Blanka will have a high-quality, luxurious-yet-affordable option for your customers’ every beauty need.

At Blanka, we make it easy to build a thriving ecommerce beauty brand from scratch. Choose items from our catalogue of high quality, unbranded beauty and skincare products and let us take care of product research and development, warehousing, order fulfilment, and merchant support. Blanka not only offers on-trend beauty and skincare products, you’ll also find a library of resources to help your business grow. 


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