More than half of US adults have bought counterfeit toys

A new survey suggests that 54 per cent of US adults have bought counterfeit toys and games online, raising the risk of exposure to health and safety hazards.

The national poll by Red Points – conducted in October in the build-up to the holiday shopping season – also found that among those who bought fakes, 21 per cent suspected it was a counterfeit, 19 per cent knew it was a counterfeit and 13 per cent said they didn't know.

Counterfeit toys often don’t meet safety standards and can pose a choking hazard, and it isn’t uncommon that they contain lead-based paints and additives that can be very harmful, especially to young children.

Price was the most important factor for respondents when it comes to purchasing toys and games online, an understandable but worrying finding given that counterfeits are generally priced deliberately low to undercut genuine items and encourage high levels of purchasing.

Moreover, 46 per cent of shoppers told the pollsters they plan to do more than three-quarters of their holiday shopping for toys and games on the Internet. After price, those surveyed were most swayed by reviews and ratings, brand reputation and product popularity.

In 2020, Americans are of course facing unprecedented budgetary constraints during one of the most economically challenging years in recent history, says Red Points.

“As a result, consumers are more likely to shop around for deals, which in turn, increases the chance of falling victim to counterfeiters,” according to the brand protection company.

The poll found quite a high level of awareness of counterfeits, with 47 per cent of respondents saying they were more concerned about buying counterfeit toys and games than other product types.

Brands affected by counterfeiting should also take heed. Two-thirds of respondents said brand owners need to do more to protect customers from fake goods, and almost half (44 per cent) said they wouldn’t buy again from brands after purchasing a counterfeit.

“Shoppers are faced with more online options than ever before, making it increasingly difficult to decipher authentic toys and games from fakes,” said Daniel Shapiro, Red Points’ vice president of strategic partnerships and brand relationships.

“In cases where counterfeit toys and games harm children, brands involved suffer a multitude of negative consequences, including loss of trust, bad press and losing revenue to counterfeiters”, he added.

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