Why Toy Companies Must Work Harder to Protect Their Brand

Counterfeit toys constitute one of the largest form of illicit trades in the world. In Europe alone, almost 3.8 million fake toys were seized by custom officials, accounting for 14% of all goods seized on the continent in 2018 – second behind cigarettes. Interestingly, the trade in counterfeit toys continues to increase even when the industry’s sales volume dips. Even as the world’s three largest toy makers recorded lower sales figures during the festive periods of 2017 and 2018, global cross border trade of fake toys grew from $7 billion to over $9 billion annually.

Considering that fake toys account for up to 12% of global toy sales, it’s clear that brand protection in the toy industry is becoming critically important, particularly as we approach the biggest shopping period of the year with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Impact on bottom line

The festive shopping window, which extends from mid-November to the post-Christmas sales, is the biggest spending period of the year for online and offline retailers, with a cumulative global revenue of over $1 trillion from more than 500 million shoppers. This sales surge will see counterfeiters try to get a slice of the action. Their presence on online marketplaces, with thousands of online listings, could potentially wreak havoc on a company’s bottom line.

Loss of Reputation

Counterfeit toys are poorly made, using substandard material. They fall apart easily, which introduces the risk of choking. The paint, chemicals and plastics used to make the fake toys also present short-term and long-term health hazards. Often customers who are fooled into buying counterfeit toys will inevitably blame the original manufacturers and brand owners for the poor quality of their fake goods. This will tarnish a company’s brands, and might even drag them to court to face frivolous lawsuits.

From an altruistic standpoint, protecting your brand and intellectual property rights (IPR) will also indirectly protect customers from being exposed to health and economic hazards. Consumers might not know how you helped make their shopping experience safer, but that shouldn’t stop companies from doing the right thing.


The seriousness of counterfeit toys is just one of the many reasons why we started the #ImForReal initiative. We, at Yellow Brand Protection, follow our guiding principle for "A Cleaner Internet. A Better Society", and this is what led us to create the initiative to raise awareness amongst consumers about of the dangers that counterfeit goods constitutes to people and society. We are encouraging others to join us and use the campaign hashtag #imforreal.

More on Brand Protection:

Protecting children from fake toy harm

Top tips to protect your brand online during the peak shopping season

#ImForReal - Take a stand against the market of counterfeit goods

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