IP Outreach Research > IP Crime


Title: Research Report on Consumer Attitudes and Perceptions on Counterfeiting and Piracy
Author: [StrategyOne]

International Chamber of Commerce Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP)

Year: 2009


Subject/Type: Counterfeiting, Piracy
Focus: Aircraft and Auto Parts, Apparel and Shoes, Beverages, Brands (deceptive counterfeits), Brands (non-deceptive counterfeits), Consumer Electronics / Electronic Equipment, Film, Food Products, Luxury Goods, Medicines and Medical Devices, Music, Personal Care Products, Software, Tobacco Products, Toys
Country/Territory: India, International, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom
Objective: To research consumer attitudes and behaviours towards counterfeiting and piracy around the world, and enlighten communications tactics that can help changes those attitudes and behaviours.
Sample: 5.000 consumers in 5 countries (survey); 20 groups of consumers (focus groups)
Methodology: Survey; Focus Groups

Main Findings

Consumers of pirated and/or counterfeited products can be divided into 5 groups:

- Happy Purchasers: these consumers feel that acquiring pirated/counterfeited goods is a “smart purchase”. They have a playful relationship to these and claim to be experts in finding the right copies. They usually purchase sophisticated products (fashion, electronics, software, etc) in small quantities. They are most commonly found in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Republic of Korea, but also in emerging markets among high income levels.

- Struggling Consumers: these consumers belong to the lowest income level categories. They are very often working hard to provide for their family. They do not see the problems posed by counterfeiting/piracy and are sometimes unable to tell the difference between a genuine product and a fake. They concentrate on their basic needs and do not have the “mental space” or education to question the product origin. They can be found mostly in India and in Russia.

- Robin Hoods: these consumers refuse to accept the system the way it is; they consider branded products overpriced and contest the margins, distribution system and taxes. They feel big corporations are often unethical and see no point in protecting their interest. They can be found mainly in Mexico (often expressing strong criticism of the State), but also in Russia or the Republic of Korea.

- Innocent Purchasers: these consumers feel they have a “moral right” to purchase counterfeited/pirated products since they are in what they regard a difficult personal situation. They are commonly found in emerging markets (India, Mexico, Russia), but also in more developed markets among lowest income levels.

- Genuinely Frustrated: these consumers would like to be able to access genuine products but cannot afford what they want to possess. They buy counterfeited/pirated goods out frustration but are not really happy about it. They would feel embarrassed to admit they do not have the means to access what they want. They sometimes “explain” their purchase behaviour by a “justification speech” on exaggerated margins, good fake quality and grey market distribution system. They are commonly found in the UK and in the Republic of Korea.

The most-often acquired fake products were DVDs/CDs, clothes, software, luxury goods, perfume, and toys. Alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and medicines were least often acquired. Generally, the most easily accessible fakes were also the most popular ones. Fakes were purchased in regular stores (54%), in the street (25%), online (11%), or abroad/on holiday (10%).

The top reasons given for buying fake goods were: “cannot afford the genuine product” (71%), “don’t know it’s not genuine” (58%), “genuine goods are overpriced” (57%), and “don’t have access to genuine products” (33%).

Respondents reported that the following deterrents were most likely to prevent them from buying fakes: “damage to health/safety” (70%), “poor quality that damages equipment that I own” (59%), “buying genuine gives access to better service and warranty” (54%), “buying fakes is wasting money” (54%), and “money goes to criminals” (39%). “You steal from original companies” (32%) and “risking trouble with the police” (25%) were less effective.

Credible statements against fakes related to insufficient control/inspections of fake merchandise, economic harm to your own country, and harm to you/your family. Credible spokespersons against counterfeit/pirated products include genuine victims, doctors, and members of NGOs. Government officials, CEOs, policemen and judges are perceived as less credible spokespersons.

The authors conclude that reaching consumers with effective messages respecting regional and cultural differences, appropriate communication and policy initiatives by governments, and cooperation among all stakeholders are key to combating counterfeiting and piracy.

[Date Added: Feb 3, 2010 ]