Survey finds high exposure to counterfeits online

Online shopping Almost a quarter of consumers surveyed in a recent poll have reported being duped by counterfeiters when shopping online.

The survey - commissioned by MarkMonitor - was conducted in 3,450 people in nine countries across Europe and the US who were questioned about their shopping habits and opinions.

It found that with holiday season shopping well underway, consumers face even a high risk of either unknowingly buying fake goods online, or being exposed to websites that sell them.

The study found that consumers do just over one-third (34 per cent) of all their shopping online, which increases by 15 per cent during the festive season, and 24 per cent have purchased a product online that turned out to be counterfeit, including fashion or footwear, electronics and digital content. 

All told, 70 per cent said they would not knowingly buy counterfeit goods, and two-thirds of that group saying they wanted to buy genuine items. Nearly half (48 per cent) saying that buying fake items is morally wrong.

"As we get closer to Christmas, it’s crucial that consumers are on their guard when they hunt for bargains online," said Mark Frost, MarkMonitor's chief executive.

"With the level of sophistication that counterfeiters are using on their websites, it is becoming increasingly harder for customers to determine if products are genuine."

Two thirds (64 per cent) of people surveyed said they were worried about security when shopping online, and 25 per cent said they did not know how to tell if the website they are purchasing from is legitimate.

"These findings demonstrate that protecting and educating consumers about online threats is a key priority," notes MarkMonitor.

"In addition, from a brand perspective, a clear and comprehensive brand protection strategy is critical for brand owners to ensure that their customers can take the strongest action possible to tackle the counterfeit challenge."

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