Press Release

68% of shoppers have unintentionally bought counterfeit gifts

SAN FRANCISCO, 13 December 2018 – Counterfeiters are capitalising on the festive season; this is according to new research by MarkMonitor, the world leader in enterprise brand protection. One in three (30%) consumers has inadvertently bought a fake product, with 68% of the counterfeit items being bought as presents.

The fear of fakes and online fraud are ever-present, especially over the festive season. Forty-five per cent of consumers worry about buying fake products as gift, 46% are worried about using their credit cards online, and 53% don’t shop via social media.

The research surveyed 2,600 consumers from across the U.K., U.S., Germany, France and Italy to gauge attitudes around online shopping, buying counterfeit products and the role of brands.

Results show that, while not all festive season shopping happens online, consumers spend most of their money online (via marketplaces 37% and brand websites 17%), with 38% spending most of their budget in physical stores.

In addition, consumers demonstrated the highest confidence levels in security when shopping through online marketplaces (88%), followed by clicking on links in search results (63%) and smartphone apps (59%).

Ironically, those consumers that unwittingly purchased fake products did so through online marketplaces (26%), smartphone apps (17%), clicking on links in search results (13%) and sponsored social media adverts (11%). This occurs despite many channels, such as marketplaces, having programmes in place to mitigate the risk of counterfeit sales.

“Consumers are getting smarter about their online shopping behaviour, but that’s still not enough. They are falling victim to counterfeiters and being duped into buying fake goods. Increasingly, they look to brands for guidance and protection, and it’s vital these brands ensure they’re doing all they can to keep their customers safe, not just at Christmas but throughout the rest of the year as well,” says Chrissie Jamieson, VP of marketing, MarkMonitor.

The research shows the majority (88%) of consumers who’ve been duped by counterfeiters say brands should be doing more to protect them.

“Shoppers are spending more money online, which increases the risk of fraud or inadvertently buying counterfeit goods. This really highlights the all-encompassing nature of brand protection across all channels, even those that are most trusted by consumers. Ultimately, it’s not just about brands protecting their reputation and revenue, nor is it just about making sure consumers don’t lose money or are inconvenienced. Many fake products, such as electronics, cosmetics, and even toys, pose a tremendous risk to physical health and well-being.”

The research was commissioned by MarkMonitor and conducted by independent survey company Vitreous World. A sample of 2,600 adults from five countries were surveyed, including the U.K., U.S., France, Germany and Italy. Interviews were conducted online in November 2018.

The full research report can be found here.


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About MarkMonitor

MarkMonitor™, a Clarivate Analytics company, is the leading enterprise-level domain registrar trusted by organizations globally to establish an online presence and protect domain portfolios. Through an extensive suite of products and consultative services, MarkMonitor enables technology, legal and marketing teams to securely register and strategically manage domain portfolios critical to business goals and reputations. Powered by domain industry data, insights and expertise, MarkMonitor helps customers maximize portfolios while mitigating risk of consumer fraud or confusion from third party domain registrations. For more information, please visit

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