Research: Over 1/4 of US consumers have purchased a counterfeit in the past 12 months

Research: Over 1/4 of US consumers have purchased a counterfeit in the past 12 months

Incopro releases survey findings on what is driving growth of online market for counterfeit goods

32% of U.S. consumers believe online marketplaces should be doing more to stop the purchase of fake products

December 5, 2019, LOS ANGELES — Consumers are looking for the best holiday deals on fashion items, electronics, and more, but not always from reputable sellers. Online brand protection software provider Incopro, in partnership with Sapio Research, conducted a survey with 1,059 U.S. respondents in October 2019 to understand how consumers are influenced online, and whether they know – or care – that they are being tricked. The report, released today, sheds a light on consumer habits in researching and purchasing products on the Internet as well as what drives consumers to buy counterfeit goods, both unwillingly and by choice. Additionally, the survey findings show the impact of counterfeit goods on brand reputation and consumer perceptions on who should be held accountable.

Piers Barclay, Chief Strategy Officer of Incopro

“With the shopping peak upon us, the risks of counterfeit activity are amplified as online shoppers seek out deals this holiday season.”

“Our research shows that some consumers are regularly being tricked into buying counterfeit goods while others are making the conscious decision to purchase fake products, which can be unsafe and/or contribute to funding criminal networks. Consumer education and leadership on this matter is needed from public influencers, including online marketplaces, policymakers, brands, and search engines, to avoid a deeper plunge into the abyss of the black market.”

Incopro’s survey findings in the U.S. include:

  • 26% of respondents have been fooled into buying at least one counterfeit product in the past 12 months. The median amount mistakenly spent on fake products is $69 per person. More than a quarter (27%) of respondents never received a refund from an online marketplace despite reporting a seller of counterfeit goods.
  • One in two U.S. consumers (52%) have lost trust in a brand after unintentionally purchasing counterfeit products online.
  • 32% of U.S. consumers believe online marketplaces should be doing more to stop the purchase of counterfeit goods. Sears is the most trusted online marketplace while eBay and Wish are the least trusted online marketplaces for buying genuine goods.
  • When asked which fakes pose the biggest threat to society online 34% said fake pharmaceuticals.
  • Almost one in five consumers (18%) don’t care that a trade war with China would mean more counterfeit goods becoming available online. While it is concerning that one in seven (15%) actually see more fake goods being available as a good thing.
  • 32% answered “yes, definitely” or “yes, maybe” to willingly buying fake clothing, fake leather goods, and fake jewelry.

Nationwide, counterfeiting has been receiving significant attention lately, ranging from calls from President Trump to address the counterfeit goods problem to senators writing letters to Amazon to remove illegal, deadly, and deceptive products, sold on the platform. Most recently, in November 2019, the Senate Finance Committee released a bipartisan report, titled “The Fight Against Fakes: How Statutory and Regulatory Barriers Prevent The Sharing of Information on Counterfeits, which underscores the challenges rights holders have in enforcing their intellectual property online and many of the health and safety risks of counterfeits sold online. However, according to Incopro’s survey, almost a third of the respondents (31%) want the U.S. government to do more to stop the sale of counterfeit goods online.

Nathalie Nahai, Web Psychologist, author and award-winning speaker comments:
“ The research suggests that changing consumer preferences are pressuring brands and platforms (whether ecommerce or social) to meet evolving expectations, by taking greater action to flag genuine goods, limit the propagation of fake items / content, and take responsibility swiftly and with integrity when issues arise.”
Read the full research findings here

Incopro and Sapio Research also conducted a similar survey in the U.K. during the same October 2019 timeframe, the findings of which were also released today. Some analogous trends were noted, including parallels with shopping and purchasing habits.


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