As the Christmas period is expensive for most people, shoppers are always hunting for the best price to save pounds at this costly time. With a cost-of-living crisis affecting people all around the globe, it’s no surprise that the Black Friday sales of 2022 are highly anticipated.
From high-end fashion labels to top-of-the-range tech brands and trending beauty products, Black Friday sales often feature various goods on sale for a fraction of their usual price. But, when it comes to getting luxury items for less, you can often find deals that are simply too good to be true. Sadly, some shoppers are duped online while looking for a way of saving themselves some money, while others are willing to pay for fake versions of trendy items.
So, to find out which brands and products are the most popular in the world of counterfeits in the year 2022, the broadband experts at Uswitch analysed Google search data from the last 12 months to discover the most in-demand fake items of the year. We went a step further, comparing this data with the one collected in 2021 to see what products have risen in the rankings year-on-year and which ones are losing appeal.
For those who think they’re bagging a luxury item for a really good price, the experts have detailed their top tips on how to stay safe online and tell the difference between a fake product and a real one to ensure you aren’t scammed. Read on to learn about internet safety.
For two years in a row the Swiss watchmaker, Rolex, tops the list as the most in-demand counterfeit luxury brand. Annually, there are 312,000 searches around the globe for ‘fake Rolex’, as so many people want a lookalike of one of the world’s most famous watch labels. Gucci is second on the list, progressing up four positions compared to last year's results, with 105,600 global annual searches for fake versions of items stamped with the double G logo. Due to ‘fake Gucci’ searches increasing compared to the following 12 months, this has forced Yeezy, Louis Vuitton and Crocs to each go down a position and rank in third, fourth and fifth position respectively. Balenciaga retains its rank in sixth place with 26,400 annual global searches, a brand that has revamped its position in the fashion world by featuring Kim Kardashian in Balenciaga's fall 2022 campaign. Completing the top 10 most-searched-for designer brands are renowned footwear brands: Air Jordan (up four positions from 2021) in seventh, Converse in eighth place and Vans in ninth. Rounding off the top 10 is Chanel with 14,400 annual searches around the globe, seeing the iconic Parisian label up three positions compared to last year. Looking at the top 20, you’ll see searches for ‘fake Dior’ have increased so dramatically over the last 12 months that it places Dior as the 16th most in-demand counterfeit fashion brand - which is 41 places above last year's rank. With so many people looking for the fake thing, some of these counterfeit items can often be shockingly similar to the real deal, leading to less savvy shoppers being conned into buying them.
|Rank||Brand name||Annual searches 2022||Y-o-Y Rank Difference|
|4||Louis Vuitton||85,400||Down 1|
|7||Air Jordan||22,800||Up 4|
|11||Off White||12,000||Down 3|
|13||Alexander McQueen||9,600||Up 10|
|18||Michael Kors||5,200||Down 3|
Most high-end brands are synonymous with one particular item, so our researchers delved into the data to reveal which designer products shoppers are hoping to secure for less. Two Cartier products top the list for yet another year: the Love Ring and the Love Bracelet. The Love Ring has dropped down a position, while the Love Bracelet takes the number one spot in the ranking. As the price of the chic and delicate bracelet starts from £4,100 and can surpass £43,000, there is no wonder that fans are looking for a discounted alternative. The Chanel Boy bag is the third most-Googled counterfeited designer item of 2022, up three places from last year with 6,000 annual searches around the globe. Gucci loafers follow as the fourth most-searched-for fake designer item, which is a rank below last year's position. Dior features in the top 10 list twice: the Saddle Bag has moved up seven positions since 2021 (fifth) and the Dior Tote Bag has moved up six places (eighth) with 1,800 annual searches for the social media-approved accessory.
Manufacturers of counterfeit items are not exactly scrupulous, so they will try and pass these fake products for genuine items. Make no mistake: if a Dior saddle bag has a price tag of £2,950, the one you found online for a mere £500 on Black Friday is most likely not the real deal.
|Rank||Designer Product||Annual searches 2022||Y-o-Y Rank Difference|
|1||Cartier Love Bracelet||9,600||Up 1|
|2||Cartier Love Ring||8,400||Down 1|
|3||Chanel Boy Bag||6,000||Up 3|
|4||Gucci Loafers||5,000||Down 1|
|5||Dior Saddle Bag||4,800||Up 7|
|6||Chanel Quilted Bag||2,800||Up 4|
|7||Prada Nylon Bag||1,900||Up 5|
|8||Dior Tote Bag||1,800||Up 6|
|9||Chanel Espadrilles||1000||Down 1|
|10||Balenciaga City Bag||840||Up 1|
A designer handbag is the ultimate gift, so it’s no surprise that they are in high demand in the lead up to Christmas day. However, some handbags can come with a price label as big as three months’ paychecks, which results in some shoppers searching for a knock-off alternative instead.
The research by broadband experts reveals that ‘fake Gucci bag’ tops the searches for counterfeit designer bags in 2022. The brand was second in the rankings last year, but this year's 76,800 annual searches around the globe have resulted in Gucci bags claiming the prize as the most desired fake handbag of the year.
Second, on the list and up three places from 2021’s rankings is Chanel with 44,400 for ‘fake Chanel bag’ over the last 12 months. The classic Chanel flap bag is a favourite among influencers on Instagram and TikTok with many advocating the bags as an investment piece, as well as a fashion statement.
Fake versions of Louis Vuitton bags are third with 31,200 annual global Google searches after previously holding the number one spot last year meaning it has dropped down two positions in the past 12 months. YSL bags have also dropped down the rankings, moving from third to fourth position over the last year.
Telfar, Michael Kors and Hermes bags have all moved up one position, ranking in fifth, sixth, and seventh position respectively. However, the biggest difference seen is the increase in demand for counterfeit Dior bags; Dior is the eighth most popular counterfeit luxury bag which is 14 positions above last year's ranking. From the modern saddle bag to the classic Lady Dior, made famous by Princess Diana in the 1990s, Dior bags are having their moment on social media. This could explain this sudden interest in fake versions of the brand's arm candy.
Meanwhile, Prada bags have seen the biggest reverse change moving down six positions and rounding off the top 10 list. Interestingly, only one brand features as a new entry, as Jacquemus bags are 11th, with 4,800 searches around the world each year. Again, this could have something to do with the Kardashians, as Kendall Jenner fronts their fall/winter campaign in 2021 and the sisters have since been spotted with the Le Chiquito bag in a multitude of colours.
|Rank||Bag Brand||Annual searches 2022||Y-o-Y Rank Difference|
|1||Gucci Bag||76,800||Up 1|
|2||Chanel Bag||44,400||Up 3|
|3||Louis Vuitton Bag||31,200||Down 2|
|4||YSL Bag||30,000||Down 1|
|5||Telfar Bag||16,800||Up 1|
|6||Michael Kors Bag||12,800||Up 1|
|7||Hermes Bag||12,000||Up 1|
|8||Dior Bag||10,800||Up 14|
|9||Balenciaga Bag||9,600||Up 2|
|10||Prada Bag||8,400||Down 6|
|11||Jacquemus Bag||4,800||New entry|
|12||Chloe Bag||3,800||Down 2|
|13||Off White Bag||3,200||Down 1|
|14||Fendi Bag||3,000||Up 7|
|15||Coach Bag||2,400||Down 1|
It’s not just fashionistas searching for a bargain alternative when they’re shopping, but tech heads, too. Although the search volumes are lower for this sector, it proves that there is still a demand for imitation versions of tech brands and products. Searches for ‘fake Apple’ take the top spot, receiving more Google searches than any other tech brand. With 15,600 annual global searches, this puts the pioneer of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks at the top of the rankings and moves it up two spots. Xbox stays put in second place, with 8,200 searches each year for a copycat version of the console, followed by Beats, which is down two positions from last year’s rankings. While Playstation, Fitbit and JBL all maintain their positions, Nintendo is bumped up two places (seventh) and Peloton moves up seven places (eighth). Samsung and Dyson both move down two ranks each, meaning fake Samsung is the ninth most-searched-for tech brand and Dyson is 10th. And while many are specifically searching for fake versions of these tech brands, counterfeit makers don’t care if you are looking for the fake item or not: they will often advertise it as the real deal to sell their stock.
|Rank||Brand||Annual searches 2022||Y-o-Y Difference|
Although there are so many dangers with buying fake tech products (as they do not have stringent testing policies and compliance tests), there’s still an appetite. Proof it are the 132,000 searches for ‘fake iPhone’ each year. The only other product to see no change in ranking is the Dyson Airwrap. However, searches have increased rapidly with the average annual search for ‘fake Dyson Airwrap’ being 46,800 in 2022.
Two more Apple products feature in the top 10 list that did not feature last year: the Apple watch is second on the list and the iPad is fifth with 16,800 searches each year for fake versions. Other new entries to feature in the top list include the Nintendo Switch (fourth) and the Peloton bike (ninth).
|Rank||Tech Product||Annual Searches 2022||Y-o-Y Rank Difference|
|2||Apple Watch||120,000||New entry|
|4||Nintendo Switch||21,600||New entry|
|6||Ring Doorbell||9,400||Down 4|
|7||Xbox Series X||8,400||Down 1|
|8||Beats Headphones||2,000||Down 1|
|9||Peloton Bike||1,800||New entry|
|10||Xbox Series S||1,200||Down 6|
In 2022, Foreo is the top beauty brand that shoppers are looking for counterfeit versions of the most. Most famous for their skin-cleaning technology, Foreo tools start from £79 and go up to nearly £300, so the premium price tag may be the reason behind such high demand for cheaper alternatives.
While Foreo is up three places compared to 2021’s data, second on the list is Charlotte Tilbury which has climbed up from eighth on the list with 1,200 annual global searches.
Olaplex (previously the most-searched-for fake beauty brand) is third, meaning the hair treatment brand is down two positions, followed by cosmetics brand Too Faced in fourth, which is down one position compared to 2021’s research. The only new entry to the list is Dr Jart, a science-led skincare brand, which rounds off the top 10 list.
|Rank||Brand||Annual Searches 2022||Y-o-Y Rank Difference|
|2||Charlotte Tilbury||1,200||Up 6|
|4||Too Faced||600||Down 1|
|6||La Mer||360||Down 4|
|7||Anastasia Beverly Hills||240||-|
|8||Le Labo||200||Down 2|
|10||Dr Jart||120||New entry|
The dangers of buying counterfeit makeup or any other skin product are many, including the lack of guarantee that the products don’t include harmful or harsh chemicals. Whilst those who look for fake items make a conscious decision to ignore the risks, if shoppers aren’t careful they might assume they are buying genuine items on a great Black Friday deal. Let’s set the records straight so you don’t accidentally find yourself purchasing something that can harm you.
With hundreds of thousands of searches for fake products made each year, online shopping is helping to fuel dupe culture. And although the act of purchasing a counterfeit item isn’t illegal, the manufacture and sale of counterfeit goods are.
Paying a fraction of the cost of a genuine product may seem appealing, but buying counterfeit goods often comes with risks and we strongly advise against purchasing fake products. Aside from getting a dodgy, poor-quality imitation, other risks include:
Purchasing an item that could be harmful to you
Using an unsecured website that can compromise your details
Funding slave labour, exploitation and smuggling
And it’s not just big designer brands with sky-high prices that are being copied. Counterfeit electrical goods aren’t subjected to the same safety checks and can therefore be very dangerous. Unofficial medicines, alcohol and food aren’t taken through the same rigorous safety procedures as legal items, and the damage can potentially be fatal.
So if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Throughout the festive period, the internet will be awash with amazing deals. So, when it comes to working out if a product is real or not, alongside brand-specific things like logo inconsistencies, our top tip is to make sure you’re buying the real thing is to shop from a reputable retailer. Shopping directly from the brand’s site or reputable retailers is one of the best ways to ensure you won’t be ripped off.
But how do you know if the retailer is safe? Start by ensuring you’re on the best broadband package for you. Then when you’re shopping online, there are lots of tell-tale signs that indicate a site could be unsafe. So here are our top tips to help you shop safely online:
1. Spelling errors: Typos within product descriptions, product names, or even the website URL are all glaring indicators that you are in a scam site.
2. Returns policy: If there isn’t a clear way to return products, this is an instant red flag.
3. Contact the site: If there’s no contact information, like a phone number or email address, or there are no links to their social media accounts, it suggests the site is designed to scam people, rather than to offer great customer service.
4. Spot HTTPS: Look at the website's URL to see if it has ‘https’ included. If it does, that means the payment page is secure and encrypted, which prevents people from accessing your passwords and bank details. If you can’t see ‘https’ at the beginning of the URL, do not enter any personal information.
5. Look at customer reviews: Reviews are a goldmine to inform future purchases, so it’s worth looking at the review section to look for comments relating to ‘fake’ goods or ‘a rip-off’. If there’s no review section, search for reviews off-site.
6. Directly compare to the manufacturer’s website: If you have found a website selling your dream handbag for 50% less than its RRP, check the product you are looking at against the manufacturer’s official site. This way, you can spot differences in design and check the product description to see if the materials match up with each other. You may even find that this product isn’t sold by the official designer at all.
7. Ensure up-to-date security: Firewalls and security software are great at protecting you from harmful websites. Keep these updated to ensure you’re always warned of a potential threat before entering the site.
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