Counterfeit awareness could be growing – but so is the market

Counterfeit awareness could be growing – but so is the market

Alarming numbers of consumers worldwide are risking their health by purchasing counterfeit health and beauty products online, according to a new survey.

The latest counterfeit awareness survey from online brand protection experts Mark Monitor and Clarivate Analytics was conducted in May and a report of the results was released this month.

The report focuses particularly on consumer goods such as makeup, toiletries, medicines, vitamins and supplements. The researchers found that 27% of the 4,401 consumers from 10 countries who took part in the survey had been duped into buying an “imposter good” online such as toiletries, cosmetics and medicines.

16% of the sample had unknowingly bought medicine deemed counterfeit, while counterfeit skincare and haircare products and supplements had been bought by 25%, 22% and 22% respectively. Makeup was cited as the most commonly purchased fake item (32 percent).

Alarmingly, when asked how they identified goods as fake, 34 percent said they had experienced a bad reaction to the product, while 50 percent said bad quality alerted them.

The report quotes the European Commission as the source for an estimate that approximately 100,000 die each year as a result of falsified and counterfeit medicines. In fact the World Health Organisation was the source for this estimate which related to Africa.

The report does not cite any research on mortality or morbidity caused by counterfeit medicines in other parts of the world, but it quotes the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA), as saying that fake drugs “may be contaminated or contain the wrong or no active ingredient. They could have the right active ingredient but at the wrong dose.”

Mark Monitor has previously highlighted the risk of counterfeit electronic goods, such as chargers, bursting into flames and causing house fires.

The latest Mark Monitor report makes no comparisons with its previous surveys of counterfeiting. It couldn’t as the countries in the sample are different.

Their 2105 report was of the US and eight European countries, with 2,000 of the 3,400 respondents being from the US and UK. For their 2016 survey they added 1,000 Chinese consumers. A high proportion of these Chinese shoppers reported buying counterfeit goods, unknowingly and in some cases knowingly.

The 2015 report found that 24% of respondents had purchased counterfeit goods, while the 2017 survey reported that 27% had. But if China had been excluded from the survey the percentage would have been lower.

Overall the survey may suggest a slight improvement in American and European online shoppers’ awareness of the risk of buying counterfeit goods. But the growth in online shopping suggests many brands have yet to stem

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Source: Loss and Prevention News