A new study from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) found that the rate at which young people in the 27-member bloc are intentionally buying counterfeits is on the rise. In a report documenting the findings of a survey of individuals between ages 15 and 24 years old residing in the EU that was conducted in February, the EUIPO revealed that 52 per cent of surveyed consumers had purchased at least one counterfeit good online in the last 12 months – with 37 per cent of them acquiring the fake product(s) on purpose. This marks “a notable increase” compared to the outcome of a similar survey conducted in 2019 when the EUIPO found that just 14 per cent of young consumers had intentionally purchased at least one counterfeit good over the course of 12 months.
In terms of the types of goods that were among the most frequently purchased by individuals intentionally seeking out counterfeit goods in the last 12 months, the highest percentage purchased clothing and accessories (17 per cent), followed by footwear (14 per cent), electronic devices (13 per cent) and hygiene, cosmetic, personal care and perfume products (12 per cent). The EUIPO determined that the unintentional purchase of counterfeits – which was cited by 37 per cent of respondents – was highest for “broadly the same product categories,” with the intellectual property office noting that the unintentional purchasers “acknowledge difficulties in distinguishing genuine goods from counterfeits.”
Additionally, compared to the 2019 survey, the EUIPO noted an increase of 6 percentage points in the proportion citing “another reason, namely the influence of people they knew” in driving the intentional purchase of counterfeit goods.
As for what is driving the rise in intentional counterfeit purchases, the EUIPO states that it is likely a result of “the widely documented increase in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic (and potentially a shortage of products in some physical stores).”
Source Fashion Law