Consumers ignore counterfeit links to crime, says report | Securing Industry

With Christmas fast approaching, a study has shown that one in five UK consumers are buying counterfeit goods, despite concern over links to criminal networks.

The study by Incopro found that 19 per cent of 1,000 polled consumers had intentionally bought a counterfeit item in the last 12 months, which is a fall from 25 per cent compared to a survey by the same company last year.

At the same time, the poll also found that the biggest concern about fake goods – cited by 28 per cent of respondents – was that they may help fund organised criminal activities, and a quarter also said they were worried about links to human trafficking and child labour.

Commenting on the findings, specialist in psychology and digital behaviour Nathalie Nahai said the findings chime with studies showing that online consumers tend to crave “convenience, ease of use and simplicity.”

“As a species, we are fundamentally hard-wired to seek out personal satisfaction and gratification, and online, this can express itself through utilitarian motives when purchasing products or consuming content,” she added.

Willingness to buy counterfeits varied depending on the product type, with people most likely to buy fake clothing, leather goods, footwear and watches.

“The drive for utility may shed light on why people seem more willing to buy certain counterfeit items (such as fashion products), but not others (such as pharmaceuticals) – for lower-risk items, the possibility of buying a fake product is outweighed by the benefit of the low cost,” said Nahai.

All told, 22 per cent of respondents had bought counterfeit goods inadvertently, down from 26 per cent in 2018, and of these more than a quarter (25 per cent) had been unable to get a refund despite reporting the seller to online marketplaces.

In 18 per cent of cases the loss was more than £100 (around $130), and the median amount lost by UK consumers to mistakenly buying counterfeit goods was £49, most commonly clothing, watches and leather goods.

“With the shopping peak upon us, the risks of counterfeit activity are amplified as online shoppers seek out deals this holiday season,” commented Piers Barclays, chief strategy officer at Incopro.“Our research shows that some consumers are regularly being tricked into buying counterfeit goods,” he added.

“However, more shockingly the volume of consumers who are happy to ignore the links between counterfeiting and organised crime…shows the importance of collaboration between brands, platforms and authorities to stop infringers and prevent this societal harm.”

More than a third (37 per cent) of consumers indicated they want law enforcement authorities and the police to do more to stop the sale of counterfeit goods online, while a lesser proportion said the onus is on online marketplaces, the government and customs.

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Read the article in Securing Industry here

 

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