London - Almost a quarter of consumers have bought fashion, footwear, electronics and digital content online that has turned out to counterfeit, according to new research commissioned by brand protection firm MarkMonitor.

The research conducted by Opinium analysed the online shopping habits of 3,450 consumers across nine countries including the UK, France, Denmark, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the US, to try to understand shoppers’ opinions on issues such as buying fake goods and online security.

When it comes to general shopping behaviour, the study found that consumers do just over one-third (34 percent) of all their shopping online, which increases by 15 percent during the festive season, which leads to sales of counterfeit goods significantly increasing, as 24 percent of shoppers admitted to purchasing fake merchandise unintentionally.

Despite the number of shoppers who admitted to being caught out by online counterfeiters, the research actually showed that 70 percent of consumers would not buy counterfeit goods, with 64 percent of that subsample stating they wanted the real thing. Nearly half (48 percent) said they thought buying fake products was morally wrong.

“As we get closer to Christmas, it’s crucial that consumers are on their guard when they hunt for bargains online,” said Mark Frost, CEO of MarkMonitor. “Along with any increase in online buying behaviour comes a growing threat to consumers — the risk of being exposed to websites selling fake goods and unknowingly buying counterfeit goods in search of a bargain.”

Another key finding of the research was that security remains a key concern for shoppers with 64 percent of consumers worrying about their security online. However, the study also found that one-quarter of respondents don’t know how to validate if the website they are purchasing from is legitimate.

Frost added: “With the level of sophistication that counterfeiters are using on their websites, it is becoming increasingly harder for customers to determine if products are genuine.”

 

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