According to a May 2019 report from the International Trademark Association (INTA), 82% of U.S. shoppers within Gen Z who have heard of property rights think intellectual property is as important or more important than physical property rights.
When it comes to Gen Z forming opinions about counterfeit goods, morality comes in second to their income. However, the respondents said they would change their minds about counterfeit goods if they’re harmful to human health, the profits from fake goods enable organized crime or the product is damaging to the environment, according to the report.
Income appears to be the most significant barrier to purchasing authentic goods, the report suggests. Seventy-one percent of respondents said they had purchased fakes in the past year, and 35% said they plan to purchase fewer going forward. For those who have bought counterfeits in the past, 64% said they had a good experience doing so.
By 2020, Gen Z is expected to make up the largest share of consumers in the marketplace. The good news, based on this report, is that 76% of U.S. Gen Z respondents said they don’t buy counterfeit goods because they know that hard work went into creating the authentic product.
But for brands to win younger shoppers over to investing in genuine goods, they must have offerings that actually meet their requirements. Eighty-nine percent of U.S. Gen Z. respondents said brands should be accessible to everyone, and 85% said the brand name isn’t as important as how well the product meets their needs.
A number of online retailers have implemented measures to combat trafficking of counterfeit goods. For example, in March Amazon introduced Project Zero to both keep counterfeits off its marketplace and protect sellers of authentic products. Additionally, Amazon joined forces with eBay and Alibaba last June in committing to the faster removal of dangerous products, including those that infringe on copyrights, by signing the Product Safety Pledge.
Globally, Gen Z respondents to INTA’s report cited brands’ social media pages, media personalities and social media influencers as the top sources for credible information about counterfeiting. Additionally, 85% of respondents stated that brands should aim to do good in the world.
While affordability matters more than morality to Gen Z, companies can effectively reach out to younger shoppers to educate them about counterfeit goods and let them know how they are interacting with social issues. Online retailers have implemented measures to combat trafficking of counterfeit goods, but it may be worth it for brands to arm younger consumers with the information necessary to spot fakes and demonstrate what brands are doing for the greater good.