Victims or Supporters of the Counterfeit Trade? What Brands Really Need to Know About Consumer Demand.
Far too often, consumers have been portrayed as unwitting victims in anti-counterfeiting strategies designed to combat the trade of fake goods. While this may be true for a segment of the buying public, many consumers are perfectly aware of their buying decisions and their indirect support of the illicit goods industry.
The stark truth behind consumer support of counterfeit goods
According to OECD’s 2019 report, ‘Trade in Counterfeit Products and the UK Economy’, over half of imported counterfeit goods were sold to consumers who were aware of the products’ illicit status. In another report published by the International Trademark Association (INTA), ‘Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products’, a majority of Generation Z (Gen-Zers) in the survey revealed that they prefer their money to go to local counterfeiters instead of IP rights holders, typified as giant conglomerates. In addition, 57 percent of Gen-Zers respondents believe that they can only afford to purchase counterfeit products.
Though brand owners are working hard with anti-counterfeiting organisations, such as Yellow Brand Protection, to monitor online infringements and take legal action to shut down illegitimate sellers, these reports clearly signal that, changing consumer thinking is another significant challenge to ending counterfeit trade.
Rainbow at the end of the horizon
All is not lost, however. 85% of Gen-Zers believe that brands should aspire to do good deeds. This suggests that the demographic is receptive to the concept of altruism. Moreover, Gen-Zers’ purchasing behaviour can be influenced by social perception. In countries like Japan, where there is a social stigma associated with the purchase of illicit goods, the volume of sales is remarkably low. Conversely, in countries like India, where the purchases of fake goods have been normalised, the trade volume of counterfeit goods is significantly higher.
Using these findings, businesses can develop holistic, long-term strategies to combat the trade of fake goods. Awareness and industry facts for idealistic Gen-Zers can help re-educate and influence them so that their support of illicit goods will gradually drop as they grow older. Further, companies and brand owners must be prepared to practice corporate social responsibility to improve their standing among the Gen Z demographic, which is the largest age group in most populations.
You can make a start in helping to create awareness amongst consumers on the dangers of counterfeit goods with Yellow Brand Protection’s #ImForReal campaign. Visit the website and find out more.