PR: Vast majority of festive online shoppers fear being fobbed off with fakes

A survey of online Christmas shoppers has revealed that more than three quarters fear being duped into buying fake goods for their nearest and dearest as they look to grab last minute presents.

The survey, undertaken by the online brand protection specialist SnapDragon, shows 78 per cent of shoppers are concerned they may be purchasing potential fire hazards, items containing harmful chemicals, funding illegal activity or simply not getting what they paid for.

As online counterfeit retail sales continue to grow at an annual rate of 25 per cent, almost half (45 per cent) of respondents admitted buying items they later discovered to be fake. Of those who had been duped, it was Christmas gifts traditionally associated with women, such as clothing (22 per cent), make-up (22 per cent), jewellery (13 per cent) and handbags (9 per cent) that were most often discovered as counterfeit. From the shoppers who did purchase a fake, 71 per cent did not send it back.

In the UK it is estimated that consumers spend at least £90 million every year on fake goods and the continual growth of the bootleggers means the volume of fake goods sold online will soon surpass those sold by legitimate physical vendors.

Rachel Jones, CEO of SnapDragon Monitoring, says: “Our figures show a high proportion of people are concerned they may not be getting what they pay for when shopping online. Indeed, almost half of those looking for goods have previously been caught out. The trade is potentially putting shoppers in danger as well as damaging legitimate businesses.

“Knowing to look out for websites with poor grammar and prices just below what you would expect to pay are good places to start when wondering if your purchase will be genuine.”

SnapDragon defends SME brands from counterfeiters online, monitoring the world’s busiest online marketplaces and removing illicit links, and sellers, protecting brands, revenues and most importantly, consumers. Counterfeits destroy brand reputations and fakes present a real danger to consumers. Many of them fail to meet legal quality standards. A toxic coating, or loose part on a baby product, could even have fatal consequences.

Copies and fakes have been a problem for makers of luxury goods for many years but smaller brands are now at risk too because of the growth of online shopping and relative obscurity of online sellers.

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