Recession fuels fake goods

Online retail sales rose 15.6% in July - great for online retailers and even great for online counterfeiters!

The Olympics have taken over the media; Great Britain is doing well… That’s great, if you are British! However, it appears that the claims that the ‘Games’ will bring untold riches to the British economy are proving somewhat less than solid than UK athletes’ chances of obtaining a medal. There were predictions of a £10 billion boost to the UK economy, but history has proven differently; Athens, Sydney and Beijing all showed a drop in tourist trade following their stints holding the Olympics. Already in the UK, retail footfall has been reported down 11.7% despite longer opening hours brought in for the games.

Conversely, online retail sales rose 15.6% in July. Great for online retailers and even greater for online counterfeiters! Fake products have been seeing a boom period on the online market as cash-strapped consumers and eagle-eyed bargain hunters clamor for cheap branded goods ranging from fake perfumes and counterfeit cosmetics to branded hair straighteners, footwear, jewelry and the ever present counterfeit watches.

Consumers will buy anything online if it appears to be a good deal, including car parts, mobile phone batteries and pharmaceuticals - all of which can have serious, life threatening outcomes especially if they fail while in use: fake brake discs crumbling when you attempt to slow from 70Mph; mobile phone batteries exploding while you are making a call; and fake drugs containing rat poison.

Consumers must think hard before parting with their hard earned cash online, because if the deal appears to be too good to be true, it generally is.

While consumers get duped, it’s brand owners that wrongly get the blame. If your brand new training shoes fall apart after a week, you may complain to your friends and family, you may even notify the world by sending a tweet.

Occasionally, you might try phoning the brand owner to complain, because you can guarantee that whoever really manufactured your goods won’t be picking up the phone.

Where does all of this take consumers? Nowhere! The brand owner will not replace products that they haven’t manufactured, a consumer’s friends and family will know that he has bought cheap fake goods, the Internet will try to sell them even more fake products and all they end up with is a pair of ruined trainers and an empty wallet. And brand owners will end up with no consumers!


Written by Andy Churley, Marketing Director, NetNames

8 August 2012