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More than a quarter (26%) of British consumers has been ripped off in the past year through purchasing something online only to discover that it was counterfeit.
This was a core finding of a report released by brand protection firm Incopro on October 10.
Of those who have accidently purchased fake branded goods online, one in five (21%) has done so between four and six times, Incopro noted.
The report said that “more than just money is being lost” due to counterfeiting, as 9% of consumers have sustained an injury or health issue because of their purchase.
Of those who reported a seller of counterfeit goods to the online marketplace that the goods were sold on, less than half (43%) received a refund—and two thirds (66%) claim to have lost trust in a brand after unintentionally purchasing counterfeits.
As online spending has hit a record proportion of all retailing (18% in July 2018, according to official statistics), brands are focusing on optimising the quality of consumers’ online experience.
But they also need to pay attention to the long-term brand damage caused by the online prevalence of counterfeit products, Incopro said: “Counterfeit goods have a major impact on customer perception and buying behaviour—brands ignore this at their peril.”
This is particularly the case as three quarters (76%) of consumers say that they would be less likely to purchase products from a brand that is frequently associated with counterfeit goods.
However, Incopro noted with “concern” that 25% of British consumers claim to have knowingly bought at least one counterfeit product in the last year.
“Counterfeits are now so endemic that consumers are becoming inured to the concept,” the report noted.
Incopro suggested that “brands need to be far more proactive about leveraging intelligence to track counterfeit activities on marketplaces”.
Edmund Harrison, attorney at Mewburn Ellis in Bristol, UK, said that counterfeiting continues to increase in scale.
“The Incopro report is helpful in revealing the attitude of UK consumers to such products and the reputational damage that counterfeits cause to the real brand,” he explained.
Counterfeit goods, e-commerce, online marketplace, fake branded goods, branding, reputation, consumer perception, health danger, online shopping