IP Outreach Research > IP Crime


Title: Counterfeiting Luxury: Exposing the Myths
Author: [Ledbury Research]

Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG)

Year: 2007


Subject/Type: Counterfeiting
Focus: Apparel and Shoes, Brands (deceptive counterfeits), Brands (non-deceptive counterfeits), Fashion Accessories, Luxury Goods, Watches
Country/Territory: United Kingdom
Objective: To look at consumer attitudes to buying fake luxury goods, spending habits and possible deterrents.
Sample: 2.000+ consumers
Methodology: Online survey, focus groups

Main Findings

The study finds that, in 2007, 5% of the population bought a fake of a "top ten" luxury brand. There is very little to distinguish demographically between those that have bought fakes and those that have not: buyers of pirated luxury brands are just as likely to be employed, in lower/higher income households as their counterparts that do not buy fakes.

The most popular fakes are: clothing, shoes, watches, leather goods, and jewellery. Fakes are either bought domestically (with 47% having bought them from market stalls; and 29% from the online marketplace eBay UK), or while travelling in Europe (45%), India/China (10%; 8%), or the rest of the Far East/world (19%; 23%). 31% of consumers report having bought fakes thinking that they were the real thing. Overall, just 17% of respondents are confident that they can tell the difference between a genuine and a fake product.

The social acceptance of fakes has risen dramatically: while in 2006 just 44% of fake buyers agreed that they told their family/friends that the counterfeit item they were wearing was in fact a fake, in 2007 64% affirm doing so. Similarly, look-alikes are considered a benevolent force, making "designerwear more affordable" (52% agreeing with this statement); just 39% believe that look-alikes damage the brands.

The two deterrents against counterfeit buying perceived as most effective are: "the fact that (counterfeiting) proceeds are going towards criminal gains" (assessed as effective by 72% of fake buyers); and "making it a criminal offence to buy/possess fakes" (70%). However, the latter is opposed by 68% of the population.

The authors recommend targeted consumer awareness campaigns highlighting, inter alia, the following message: "by buying fakes, you are funding organised crime - including terrorism".

[Date Added: Oct 22, 2008 ]