One in six online shoppers duped by counterfeit goods

One in 28 consumers willingly search for fake goods online while one in six are tricked by the ‘quality’ of counterfeit websites, according to new research by software company MarkMonitor. 

The study, which analysed data from more than 285,000 online shoppers in the United States and five European countries over an eight month period – surveyed nine million shopping sessions to determine whether shoppers visited sites selling legitimate goods or sites selling counterfeit goods.

It also studied shoppers’ motivation, analysing search times such as ‘cheap’, ‘discount’, ‘outlet’ as bargain-seeking and ‘counterfeit’, ‘fake’ and ‘replica’ as fake-seeking.

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The study found that the number of bargain-hunters has grown with a ratio of 28 deal-seekers to every one fake seeker in the US and Europe. This is an increase from the earlier study which found a ratio of 20 deal-seekers to every one seeker of fakes.

The report suggests that one in 10 bargain-hunters is likely to stumble upon a website selling counterfeit goods compared to one in five in a previous study.

However, the study found that once a bargain hunter does encounter a ‘rogue’ website they are likely to be tricked by the quality of the perceived site, with one in six online bargain hunters displaying intent to purchase.

Fredrick Felman, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor, said: “Savvy shoppers are continuously looking online for deals and are falling victim to counterfeiters who have camouflaged themselves as legitimate purveyors of desirable goods, changing the rules of the game in brand protection.

“The findings from our Shopping Report stress the importance for brands of developing proactive strategies to safeguard their brands so customer trust is not undermined by illicit digital activities.”

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