Consumer Attitudes on Fakes

A survey by the UK law firm Clarke Willmott conducted during the 2011 holiday shopping season uncovered some interesting insights on what consumers think about fakes, who buys them (or doesn’t) and why. The survey was completed by 2,081 adults in the UK. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • 17% of adults admitted to buying a counterfeit product – and men show a higher propensity to buy fakes than women (21% vs. 14%)
  • Top reasons for buying fakes are economic driven – and include fakes being cheaper than genuine product (22%) and buyers having less money to spend due to the recession (14%)
  • The unemployed are more inclined to buy fakes than the employed (25% vs. 18%)

The survey also examined the risks consumers see in buying fakes, including:

  • providing credit /debit card details to a supplier of counterfeit goods (44%)
  • mistakenly buying a counterfeit product that they thought was real (38%)
  • buying something counterfeit online and not receiving it (28%)
  • whether they are safe (e.g., fire hazard) (26%)

The survey went further to explore consumers’ awareness of the criminal nature of counterfeits, and whether this was a deterrent in buying fakes. When asked the reasons why they would not buy fakes, roughly half of consumers responded:

  • it’s against the law to sell them (49%)
  • people who sell them are often part of organized crime gangs (57%)
  • when buying online their bank details may be used for criminal activity (53%)

These findings show that consumer awareness of fakes is growing and that messages regarding the risks of buying fakes are getting out, even though some consumers are buying fakes knowingly. Brand owners should continue to support PR campaigns that educate the market and shape consumer attitudes on fakes.