The report focuses on a category that is heavily targeted by counterfeiters—apparel and luxury goods—and surveys almost nine million shopping sessions during a nine month period, focusing on the search terms employed by shoppers in order to understand what they were looking to purchase.
We classified terms like “cheap,” “discount” or “outlet” as bargain-hunting terms and terms like “counterfeit,” “fake” or “replica” as fake-seeking terms. We then examined the aggregated traffic for shoppers using both sets of terms to see if shoppers visited sites selling legitimate merchandise or rogue sites.
Bargain hunters are sometimes duped
Our latest study found that the number of bargain-hunters has grown with a ratio of 28 deal-seekers to every one fake-seeker in the U.S. and Europe. This is a substantial increase from an earlier study which found a ratio of 20 deal-seekers to every one seeker of fakes, with the increase most likely fueled by a combination of factors, including economic conditions and the Internet’s reputation as a great source for deals.
As a continuing testament to the increasing professionalism of rogue sites, the findings revealed that 1 in 6 bargain hunters are duped by the perceived “quality” of the rogue sites and demonstrate an intent to purchase counterfeit goods.
With the holiday season right around the corner, consumers must be vigilant when shopping online. The look and feel of rogue sites can fool even the savviest of shoppers. Many counterfeit goods are priced to appear as legitimate goods on sale, often discounted at 25–50 percent off the legitimate list prices, which is comparable to end-of-season or ‘blowout’ sale prices. These plausible prices allow bargain hunters to feel they are getting a good deal on legitimate merchandise, especially when coupled with the increasing tendency for rogue sites to feature brands’ recent marketing campaigns and photographs.
The findings from our Shopping Report stress the importance for brands of developing proactive strategies to safeguard their brands so customer trust is not undermined by illicit digital activities. The study lists the steps companies can take to make sure “brandjackers” don’t come between them and the consumer, steps that translate into a positive return on investment in the digital world. Click here to download a full copy of the report.