INTA study dissects Gen Z counterfeit attitudes

A study of the purchasing behaviours of Generation Z – people aged between 18 and 23 – has found that affordability trumps morality when it comes to counterfeits.

Put simply, the study by the International Trademark Association (INTA) found that while almost half (48 per cent) of respondents didn’t think it was okay to buy counterfeits, 57 per cent said they had done so because they could only afford the fake version of some brands.

All told, 47 per cent said their income influences their opinions about counterfeit products, while 37 per cent cited morals, However, 79 per cent of the Gen Zers surveyed said they bought fake goods in the 12 months prior to the study in November 2018.

Jaqueline Mai of Insight Strategy Group, which prepared the study on behalf of INTA, said that this was a case of situational morality, where strong morals are tested by lack of income.

One interpretation of the study is that Gen Zers may be more open to educational messages about the harm caused by counterfeiting, as they tend to gravitate towards brands that share their own morals and values.

On the other hand, members of Gen Z tend to accept counterfeit products that are of high quality and affordable – perceived as ‘replicas’ – rather than low-quality fakes as they believe these allow them to express their individuality. 81 per cent said the brand name is not as important as how a product fits their needs.

Countries included in the study were Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the US.

The highest rates of counterfeit purchases were seen in Nigeria (97 per cent), followed by Argentina and India (89 per cent each), and China (84 per cent), with Japan coming in at the bottom at 46 per cent.

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