Brands need to shape the youth of tomorrow to end counterfeit demand
Gen Z, or centennials, is the fastest-growing demographic in the world. Members of the demographic encompasses youths born between 1995 and 2010 – just after the ‘millennials’. In many countries, this makes up the largest single population group. While the current purchasing power of Gen Zers is nowhere close to millennials and boomers, they will dominate the economic landscape within the next decade. Understanding the psyche, psychology and motivations of Gen Zers would help businesses develop long-term brand protection strategies geared towards them.
What do Gen Zers think about counterfeit goods?
A survey conducted by the International Trademark Association, ‘Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products’, revealed some startling revelations gleaned from the over 4,500 Gen Zer respondents in 10 countries.
For one thing, Gen Zers place a high value on their individuality, morality and flexibility, and a large majority believes in being true to themselves (92%) and determining their own morality (89%).
Unfortunately, they are a bit apathetic on brand names (81%) and 79% have purchased counterfeit goods over the past year, with clothing and footwear accounting for the bulk of the purchases. The primary motivation behind buying fake goods is cost. However, Gen Zers will avoid counterfeit products which create health hazards, cause environmental damage, or contribute towards organised crime.
How businesses can convince Gen Zers to get into their corner
Considering that 91% of Gen Zers are open to changing their views based on new information, brand owners and rights holders have a huge opportunity to shape the buying habits of this demographic. The key lies in educating them about the dangers of counterfeit goods and the crime syndicates running most counterfeit operations.
Stakeholders, which include governments and law enforcement agencies, must also participate in this long-term education program to ensure the message is carried through. Real world examples, such as deaths caused by substandard medicines, toys and electronics, need to publicised. The role that crime organisations play in the counterfeiting ecosystem must also be highlighted.
If businesses are able to execute this aware-raising strategy, the next generation of buyers might just send the counterfeiting industry to the grave.