IP Outreach Research > IP Crime


Title: Keine Flaute für Produktpiraten - Motivation und Gefahr beim Fälschungskauf im Internet
Author: [OpSec Security GmbH], [TU München]


Year: 2009


Subject/Type: Counterfeiting
Focus: Consumer Electronics / Electronic Equipment
Country/Territory: Germany
Objective: To investigate consumer buying behaviour and attitudes towards counterfeit consumer electronics.
Sample: 454 Internet users who have made online purchases at least once in the last 6 months
Methodology: Online survey

Main Findings

Survey respondents that buy electronic devices online overwhelmingly prefer originals: only 6% reported having knowingly purchased counterfeit consumer electronics on the Internet, while 94% had not. 80% said that they pay attention not to buy counterfeit electronics.

52.4% believe that fake consumer electronics are potentially dangerous: “device not performing according to specifications” (81%), “fire hazard” (79%), “electric shock” (75%) and “toxicity” (68%) were the most often named potential dangers.

When asked whether they would buy (obviously counterfeit) electronics from a fictitious Asian distributor, just 36% of consumers declined the offer independently of price. 32% of consumers declined to buy similar, but less obvious fakes offered on a fictitious eBay auction. When asked whether these products could be counterfeits, 62% realised that these were in fact counterfeits; however, 21% did not. Of those having knowingly bought counterfeit consumer electronics, almost 70% were able to identify the fakes.

Reasons given for preferring counterfeit consumer electronics were: “original too expensive” (89.6%), “prestige” (39.2%), “original and counterfeit are manufactured in the same place” (39%), “appealing look” (38.3%), “peer pressure” (30%) and “resale” (23.8%). Respondents affirm that consumers of fake electronics hope that counterfeits are: “of reasonable quality and that thus money is saved” (76%), “simply manufacturing overruns” (57%) or “stolen originals” (19%).

Almost four in five consumers are not familiar with the legal implications of buying counterfeit consumer electronics: while 59% think that it is illegal, just 19% (correctly) know that at the moment buying such goods is not prohibited.

Conclusions: about two thirds of respondents accepted buying a counterfeit electronic device if the price was attractive enough. This contradicts the affirmation that 80% pay attention to avoid buying counterfeit electronics. The belief that buying counterfeits is illegal deters only a minority of consumers.

[Date Added: Jun 11, 2009 ]