Almost a quarter of online shoppers are duped by counterfeiters

New research has revealed that 23 percent of consumers have unwillingly bought a fake product online — with a higher than average proportion falling into the 18 to 34 year old millennial age group.

Of those that were duped, 71 percent said the experience had a negative impact on their perception of the genuine brand, with 59 percent saying they were more cautious when interacting with the company in future, and 12 percent saying they wouldn’t buy from that brand again. In addition, 32 percent didn’t take any action upon discovering they were duped, while 29 percent complained to the company that owned the brand.

Purchasing counterfeit goods is a key concern for shoppers, especially as online shopping increases during the holiday season, with 51 percent of consumers worrying about unknowingly buying a fake. Security remains top of mind as similar research, commissioned last year by MarkMonitor showed 64 percent of respondents were anxious about their online security. This year the number has increased to 78 percent having concerns about shopping online — with 42 percent stating they worried about the security of their personal details and bank cards.

The research also shows that 85 percent of consumers worldwide believe brands should be doing more to protect them from buying counterfeit products. However, the research also revealed that of those consumers that were duped, 10 percent sought advice from the real brand once they realized their product was fake.

“Counterfeiting and the availability of counterfeit products online is a threat to both brands and consumers. These cybercriminals are becoming increasingly more sophisticated in their approach. As a result, consumers need to be vigilant when shopping online, and brands must evolve their protection strategies to reduce the risk while taking steps to educate their customers,” says Mark Frost, CEO, MarkMonitor.

“What this research reinforces is that more customers are looking to brands to advise and help them understand the counterfeiting issue. It demonstrates that the appetite for willingly buying these types of goods just isn’t that strong. But despite that, consumers are still falling victim to counterfeiters.”

Almost three quarters of consumers said they wouldn’t willingly buy a fake in the future, 14 percent weren’t sure and 12 percent said they would go ahead. The main reason for not buying counterfeit goods was that people prefer the real item according to 47 percent of the respondents. Consumers have also been the recipients of fake goods as gifts, with nine percent of the respondents saying they had received one for Christmas.