- Roughly 20% of people recently surveyed said they have bought counterfeit footwear online, and 37% of consumers are indifferent to the problem, according to online intellectual property technology firm Red Points.
- Among those, 48% started searching for genuine branded product, while 9% were actually looking for counterfeit products, and 35% of those purchasing fake footwear were not aware of it at the time. But about 80% said they were confident in their ability to spot counterfeit footwear.
- Nearly 70% of those who bought counterfeits were satisfied with the footwear to some extent, and 49% said they would buy the counterfeit shoes if presented with a big enough discount, the study reported. The 61% who said they would purchase shoes through a post on social media are at greater risk than others of being targeted by counterfeiters, Red Points said.
Fake goods are a real problem, and many consumers just don’t care. Trade in pirated and counterfeited intellectual property accounted for $461 billion in 2013, or about 2.5% of all trade, reported the International Trademark Association. By 2020, the figure could reach nearly $1 trillion, the association said. In contrast, the entire global apparel industry is now worth about $3 trillion in sales, according to FashionUnited Group.
Red Points confirms these numbers in its report. Citing statistics from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the global trade in counterfeits is worth an estimated half a trillion dollars and is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2022. OECD estimated that the counterfeit footwear business is valued at about $12 billion a year, or about 10% of the global market value. The report said the global sports/athletic footwear industry is expected to reach a gross market value of $114.8 billion by 2022.
Google and Amazon are the two most popular methods of searching for sports footwear online, followed by the brands’ own websites, according to the Red Points report. About 18% use social media to search for these products in spite of the prevalence of counterfeits in those online environments.
Counterfeiting has been a major problem for Amazon, eBay and Alibaba. Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, has called counterfeits the "cancer" of the Chinese e-commerce site. Four online marketplaces – Amazon, eBay, Alibaba and Rakuten-France – have signed a Product Safety Pledge committing to the faster removal of dangerous products from their listings, according to the European Commission. Copyright infringement is included in the definition of "dangerous products." A report from Gartner L2, which has been disputed by Amazon, said lower-priced brands on the marketplace may be more vulnerable to knockoffs.
RepairClinic, a provider of parts for appliances, HVAC systems, lawn equipment and outdoor power gear, has rebranded itself and launched a new website as part of its efforts to combat counterfeit parts. Apparel brand Diesel took another tack earlier this year when it opened a pop-up store near counterfeit hotbed Canal Street in New York offering all purportedly fake products, even with misspelled tags reading, “Deisel.” The company eventually came clean, telling customers everything in the store was genuine. Authenticity was the message of the two-and-a-half day event.