IP Outreach Research > IP Crime


Title: Pirates of the 21st century - The consumer goods industry under attack
Author: [Valid Research Marktforschung GmbH]

Ernst & Young

Year: 2008


Subject/Type: Counterfeiting
Focus: Apparel and Shoes, Beverages, Brands (deceptive counterfeits), Brands (non-deceptive counterfeits), Fashion Accessories, Food Products, Luxury Goods, Personal Care Products, Watches
Country/Territory: Austria, Germany, International, Netherlands, Switzerland
Objective: To better understand patterns of supply/demand of counterfeit goods and their damage to the consumer goods industry, and to pinpoint solution-oriented approaches for process-oriented brand protection.
Sample: 2.500 consumers from Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Austria; 27 European manufacturers of consumer products
Methodology: Survey (consumers); in-person/online interviews (manufacturers)

Main Findings

The majority of consumers surveyed is fully aware of the dangers and risks associated with counterfeit goods: overall, more than 60% consider there to be important personal risks (accident/health/financial risks), and over three in four are aware of risks to others (involvement of criminal gangs, poor working/environmental standards).

In the last three years, 28% of consumers overall (and 39% of < 35 year olds) have purchased counterfeit products. Counterfeit clothing was most often purchased (by 23%), followed by accessories (11%), cosmetics/personal care and food/beverages (7% each). 40% of counterfeit goods purchasers claim to have unwittingly bought them. 90% consider that buying counterfeit goods is socially acceptable and a mere peccadillo.

The most important reason given for buying counterfeit products is their low price (cited by 82%). Other reasons are: “liking the product” (43%) and “wanting the status symbol” (33%). As quality, safety of use, ethical production principles and sustainability are found to have the biggest potential to make the fundamental differences between genuine/counterfeit goods clear to consumers, communication strategies should emphasise these characteristics to justify the price difference between the fake and the original product.

Companies regard Asia as the main supplier of counterfeit goods: 69% cite China as a country of origin of counterfeits, and 38% other Asian countries; 35% Turkey, and 17% eastern European countries. The main distribution channels for counterfeit goods are “mobile traders/markets” (cited by 41% of companies), followed by retail /wholesale traders (37% / 33%) and the Internet (33%).

Over two in three companies surveyed (78%) are substantially affected by counterfeiting, and counterfeiting risks are generally perceived to be on the increase. Intellectual property rights (IPR) violated by counterfeiters are trademarks (with 85% of companies affected), design rights (70%), copyright (37%) and patents (19%).

Companies consider that more should be done at the political level to combat counterfeiting (with 100% seeing further need for action at this level); 84% want more to be done at the association level, and 81% at the private enterprise level. The most urgently needed countermeasures include: increasing consumer awareness (70%), increasing sanctions (70%), and easier enforcement of IPR under private law (52%).

[Date Added: Nov 20, 2008 ]