Young people increasingly likely to buy fake goods, says EUIPO

A survey of Europeans aged 15 to 24 has revealed that 37 per cent of them bought one or several fake products intentionally in the last 12 months, a significant increase compared to prior polls conducted in 2016 and 2019.

The IP Youth Scoreboard conducted by the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights found that just over half (52 per cent) had bought at least one counterfeit either knowingly or unknowingly.

All told, 37 per cent had also done so unintentionally, a result explained by the fact that respondents may have both intentionally and unintentionally purchased fakes over the period, according to the report.

It's a big leap on 2019, when just 14 per cent of young people reported having bought such goods intentionally, with 12 per cent saying that had done so unintentionally. However the report suggests the readouts aren't directly comparable, as the latest result reflects a big increase in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to the questions asked.

The specific types of counterfeit products that respondents had most commonly bought over the last 12 months were clothes and accessories (17  per cent), followed by footwear (14 per cent), electronic devices 13 per cent, and cosmetics/personal care products (12 per cent).

Cost and affordability remain the most important factors motivating the purchase of counterfeit goods, but other factors are gaining ground, especially social influences such as the behaviour of family, friends or acquaintances, according to the report.

The survey also found that intentional piracy of content stayed at roughly the same levels – at 21 per cent of respondents – although the proportion of young people saying they had not accessed content from illegal sources  rose from 50 per cent to 60 per cent.

"For both products and digital content, young people mentioned personal risks of cyber fraud and cyberthreats as important factors that would curb their behaviours," according to a statement on the fundings from the EUIPO.

"Also, a better understanding of the negative impact on the environment or on society are now more widely mentioned by the young people surveyed."

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