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Is It Worth It?: Teen reviews’ vary from satisfied to suspicion on TikTok Shop

Students+explore+their+justifications+for+purchasing+from+TikTok+Shop.+The+online+retailer+founded+in+2022+opens+users+up+to+potential+scam.
MC Dunn
Students explore their justifications for purchasing from TikTok Shop. The online retailer founded in 2022 opens users up to potential scam.

Buzz buzz! Another notification pops up on freshman Finley Rhoades’ cellphone from social-media app TikTok, but not from a friend. Rather, a plethora of makeup, jewelry and skincare promotions seize her screen. Self-control shoots out the window as she dives into TikTok Shop, the new growing sensation amongst young viewers nationwide. 

TikTok Shop is a cheap marketplace directed towards younger audiences who get hooked on its bargains. The low prices are a result of TikTok’s strategic marketing, as it profits from a 2% margin of each sale, according to news source Fortune.

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Insider Commerce reported that TikTok Shop has grown by 9.6 million buyers in the past year. This number, predicted to grow at a constant rate, is increasing as the market appeals to teenagers like Rhoades for its cheap prices with decent quality.  

“I love shopping on TikTok Shop since it is so much more affordable than anywhere else I look,” Rhoades said. “Not only is my shipping free, but at other places where I shop items would be around $20, versus on TikTok Shop it’s all much less with a selection of basically everything.”

Some products Rhoades has been satisfied with include a knit sweater, freeze-dried Skittles, a Squishmallow and a makeup mirror. However, other students have gambled on buying from TikTok with much different outcomes.

One of these shoppers includes sophomore Mary Grant, who was disappointed to find she was scammed on T-shirts that never showed up. 

“This past summer, I just needed big shirts to wear with swimsuits or as casual wear,” Grant said. “I kept seeing ads from this one brand, and when I was browsing it was only $5 for a pretty cute T-shirt. I decided to get a couple and was just waiting for months, but they just never came. It was such a letdown.”

Grant is not the only person who has been ripped off by fake branding. As individuals can both buy and sell products, it can lead to unreliable online stores that are hard to determine legitimate.

This begs the question for many: do a few quarters justify the risk of being scammed? For Grant, it did not, but there seems to be a median between quality and price for other buyers. Sophomore Ashley Myers bought other products to test out. 

The items she bought were an alleged Laniege lip mask and Stanley Hydro Flask, both of which she thought were tolerable for the price paid. 

“I bought the Stanley half of the original price or even less, and you could hardly tell the difference,” Myers said. “I would say it worked well and is practical, but the lipmasks were not very good. I mean, they worked but they were minis and looked nothing like the actual brand. They also were not very hydrating, and I ended up throwing them away.”

She was tempted to purchase her water bottle and masks for the low prices. For Myers, a deal became a deal-breaker as she tries to budget her spending.

“I had a job over the summer and saved up a good amount of money to put aside,” Myers said. “ But otherwise, I only babysit every now and have to limit myself from spending too much money since I tend to have bad shopping habits.”

The reason that people like Myers and Grant received copycat products from TikTok shop is because many TikTok promos are lined with dozens of false advertisements. These ads result in misleading dupes disguised as the official brand, so Grant advises that users be careful before making purchases. 

Is TikTok Shop worth the “hype”, or is it just another bandwagon trend? This opinion seems to depend on the buyer and their luck with each shop. From scam brands to affordable alternatives that are identical to expensive ones, many people have had varying experiences 

“My advice is to look at reviews or look up the brand before you buy anything,” Grant said. “I know that by being naive, you gamble your stuff either being worth your buck or just not even showing up.”

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MC Dunn
MC Dunn, Staff Writer

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    EugeneMar 21, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    ok

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