WD-40 fourth-quarter sales affected by counterfeits

WD-40 cansLubricant company WD-40 has revealed that sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) suffered in the fiscal fourth quarter from counterfeit products in the marketplace.

WD-40 has wrestled with counterfeiting for decades, saying in the early 2000s that counterfeit WD-40 products in China accounted for around 25 per cent of the market, half its own legitimate share of around 50 per cent. Russia has also been a hotspot for counterfeiting in recent years.

All told, EMEA sales rose 16 per cent to $136m for the full fiscal year, with robust turnover in Northern Europe offset by the effects of counterfeiting mainly in Eastern Europe.

In 2003, the company started to introduce new measures such as asymmetric-shaped cans to try to differentiate its products in the marketplace, and more recently started to make use of the uFaker crowd-sourcing app, which allows customers to report counterfeits in order to earn rewards.

Members of the public can simply take a picture of a suspect item and upload the picture and other pertinent information to uFaker. The brand owner is sent the data and can then decide whether to investigate.

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