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East Midlands Chamber News

Counterfeit goods becoming the norm

More than one in five consumers in the East Midlands admit to buying counterfeit alcohol, cigarettes, medicines, films, music, clothes and car parts, a new PwC study reveals.

According to the report, Counterfeit Goods in the UK, 69 per cent of consumers in the region think it is easy to purchase counterfeit products, despite 90 per cent agreeing it is morally wrong.

When asked why they would buy fake goods, almost two-thirds (60%) said that genuine products were overpriced. A similar amount (57%) said they were unaware the products were counterfeit.

Andy Lyon, partner and retail expert at PwC in the East Midlands, said: “Counterfeits cost the regional economy profit and jobs, but the most worrying trend for manufacturers and retailers is how people increasingly see access to fakes as a normal, consumer choice.”

While 83 per cent of consumers in the region admit to not being aware of what the penalties are for buying and/or selling counterfeit goods, being caught was not listed as a major factor putting consumers off.

People are, however, concerned about the safety of the products they are purchasing (82%) – and with good reason.

Fifteen per cent of consumers admit to buying fake alcohol, even though - according to Drinkaware - substitutes for ethanol in fake alcoholic drinks include chemicals used in cleaning fluids, nail polish remover, car windscreen wash and methanol - more commonly used in anti-freeze.

Andy added: "Companies are spending time and money fighting fakes, but with mixed results. The digital economy and global supply chains have made tracking counterfeit goods and measuring their economic damage fiendishly complex.”

Consumers believe responsibility for stopping the sale of counterfeit goods lies primarily with the government, then intriguingly, themselves, followed by police above manufacturers and online markets.

Andy concluded: “Many companies know they need to step-up counter measures in this area. Sharing information across industries will lead to better awareness and quantification, and lead to better defences.”