As the countdown to Christmas begins, new research has discovered that one in five Brits have knowingly chosen fake goods, with over a third (36%) of those people purchasing more than four in the last 12 months.
The research published today from online brand protection software provider Incopro, has shown that there is a huge appetite for these often-cheaper illegal alternatives. Over a quarter (28%) of UK consumers would consider buying fake watches, footwear, clothing, handbags/purses and jewellery from online counterfeit resellers.
The pressure to buy the latest designer items for loved ones this Christmas is leading consumers to actively seek out fake goods online. Whilst they might think they’re getting a good deal and it’s not hurting anyone, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has stated that financial intelligence has helped identify numerous international organised crime groups (OCG) who have made multi-millions of pounds through the sale of counterfeit goods.
Despite the willingness from consumers to get fakes of the latest products to put in their stockings this Christmas, over a third of UK consumers (37%) want law enforcement authorities and the police to do more to stop the sale of counterfeit goods online.
Interestingly, it is younger people who are calling on brands themselves to take the responsibility to stop fakes making their way into homes, with 27% of 18-24-year olds listing them as needing to do more. With nearly half of those in that category (48%) saying they have lost trust in a brand after purchasing a counterfeit
Piers Barclays, chief strategy officer at Incopro, said: “With the shopping peak upon us, the risks of counterfeit activity are amplified as online shoppers seek out deals this holiday season. Our research shows that some consumers are regularly being tricked into buying counterfeit goods. However, more shockingly the volume of consumers who are happy to ignore the links between counterfeiting and organised crime, making the conscious decision to purchase fake products, shows the importance of collaboration between brands, platforms and authorities to stop infringers and prevent this societal harm.”
The results are part of a combined UK & US research project that explores the impact of today’s ‘Fake Society’. In the report, results reveal how consumer trust is impacted and whether we know – or even care – that we are purchasing fake goods.
The findings highlight that UK consumers are well aware of the risks posed by fake pharmaceuticals, with 44% believing they pose the biggest threat to society. On the contrary, they are ignoring the risks that come with buying fake fashion items with only 13% listing the knock-on effects of the ‘knock-offs’, as the biggest threat.
The lack of consumer education when it comes to fake goods appears pertinent when even more (22%) consumers have unknowingly purchased counterfeit items online in the previous 12 months, a large amount of which (18%) have lost over £100 on fake goods.
It is clear the UK is suffering from a counterfeit pandemic and consumers need to be educated in both how to spot a fake but also the problems they cause to wider society. Everyone must take more responsibility in this scenario, with further recent Incopro research discovering that six in 10 Google search results lead online shoppers to fake goods.