Globally, most counterfeit goods are ‘sent in small parcels’

Two-thirds of counterfeit goods intercepted by customs around the world are discovered in small parcels sent through postal or courier services, according to new research.

The study – by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – found that more than half of all global seizures of counterfeit goods sent by post contained just one item.

That’s a worrying discovery, according to EUIPO’s recently-appointed executive director Christian Archambeau, as small parcel shipments are harder for customs officials to track and seize, in part because information such as ship manifests and the supporting role of customs brokers are absent in small volume trade.

Data from postal services and express companies could constitute a valuable enforcement resource – if it was made available to customs authorities, notes the report. “Currently, only simplified documentation is required to send small volume items shipped by post,” it goes on. “The information contained in the documents is certified by the sender and is not usually verified, which creates scope for legitimate errors as well as fraud.”

The report shows that counterfeiters across virtually all industry sectors use small shipments, albeit to different degrees.

Small shipments are particularly used for small consumer items. According to the study, of all the seized small shipments of counterfeit goods, 84 per cent contained footwear, 77 per cent comprised fake optical, photographic and medical equipment products (mostly sunglasses), and 63 per cent were fake watches, leather articles such as belts, handbags and jewellery.

As might be expected given seizure data, EUIPO and OECD also found that a few provenance economies dominate small parcel trade, notably China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.

“We hope that these findings will be of use to policymakers as they devise methods to combat counterfeiting,” said Archambeau, although he pointed out that in volume terms the bulk of counterfeits still come into the EU mainly via containers and other maritime shipments.

The report notes that more research is needed to clarify the reasons for the declining number of seizures in rail and sea transport, as opposed to the growing number and values of seizures in small parcels, and particularly whether it is in response to enforcement strategies.

In June, the EUIPO published research suggesting that counterfeiting is sucking almost €60bn from the EU’s economy every year, corresponding to 7.5 per cent of sales overall, with accumulated losses equivalent to €116 per EU citizen per year.

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top