Counterfeiting, a scourge in the luxury market

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Counterfeit items have long been present in the auction and purchase environment. Often copying luxury items almost to perfection, they are not. If for buyers, acquiring a counterfeit thinking they are doing a good deal is difficult… The impact for luxury stores is even worse. Customers who turn away from traditional channels to alternative networks; at the same time, the creation of new trades helps to unravel the true from the fake. Faced with a growing parallel market, the luxury sector is trying to redouble its efforts.

France, affected by counterfeiting

According to an article in Vie Publique published in February 2021, France is one of the most affected countries after the United States. Counterfeiting in the territory is growing as a result of the phenomenon of globalization and the development of online commerce. Indeed, counterfeits are mainly produced in Asia and circulate all over the world. No product is spared by the phenomenon. In 2020, customs experienced an increase in seizures, particularly on masks and medicines. Customs saw a 20% increase in seizures. Of the health products seized, 5% represent drugs. In parallel, customs have noted several cases of counterfeit masks of type FFP2 or FFP3. No less than 272,000 counterfeit masks were seized.

Faced with this, customs has therefore developed its action on the internet. Now cyber customs workers are working to infiltrate and dismantle organizations on the “darknet”. For 2021-2022, the objective is to strengthen the entire national strategy in order to fight against counterfeiting. To this end, customs officers will cooperate with all cooperating with all ers involved in the fight against counterfeiting. They will also strengthen intelligence gatherings. Finally, they will intensify the policy of control and investigation and adapt the litigation policy and prosecutions.

With the emergence of online sales platforms from individual to individual, counterfeits are multiplying. Being in search of good deals sometimes prevents you from seeing fraudulent ads. The more time passes, the more difficult it becomes to identify counterfeits.

counterfeit medicines masks customs
Counterfeiting also affects medicines

The impact and perception of counterfeiting

In December 2020, the National Assembly drew up a report on the evaluation of the fight against counterfeiting. In the context of sectoral studies published in 2019 and 2020 but dating from a period between 2013 and 2017, the report highlights the estimated shortfall for French companies. The main sectors affected include clothing, cosmetics, medicines, smartphones and finally pesticides. For economic actors, counterfeiting has a price. Indeed, the report estimates a loss of EUR 6979 million. In addition, counterfeiting also harms employment, the results of the study show a loss of 38,372 jobs.

The economic impact of counterfeiting is still too little known for consumers. Or it is largely underestimated by consumers. Faced with this observation, it is necessary to inform and raise awareness. According to a 2018 IFOP survey for Unifab, 37% of consumers have bought counterfeit goods without knowing it. At the same time, the OECD shows consumer behaviour in the face of counterfeiting , particularly in Italy and the United Kingdom. More than half of counterfeit buyers do so knowingly, especially in the textile sector. There is a tendency to link to this information. Indeed, if the majority of Europeans are against counterfeiting, they remain ready to excuse the circumvention of trademarks for a reason. They underestimate the problem on the pretext that large companies and brands that are victims of counterfeiting have money.

Counterfeiting of luxury goods, fighting and adapting stores

Today, spending hundreds or thousands of euros on a luxury item no longer guarantees the obtaining of an authentic piece. Perfumes, shoes, jewelry and many other luxury accessories are sometimes fake. The situation is such that it is absolutely necessary to know how to authenticate a Chanel bag so as not to make a bad purchase or sell counterfeits.

The rendering of a counterfeit was previously obvious. The seams of a bag or garment were coarse,some details non-existent. But today, production techniques have improved,so that some customers, thinking they are making “a good deal”, are being tricked. For the luxury industry,the rise of counterfeiting in the market is a scourge. More broadly, the counterfeiting market has a strong impact on the national economy, with France being one of the countries of luxury par excellence.

In 2019, 4.5 million counterfeit products are seized on French soil. An alarming amount, which prevents real brands from paying themselves as they should. The Union of Manufacturers (Unifab), in partnership with IFOP, conducted a survey in 2018 on counterfeits. It turns out that 37% of consumers have already purchased a counterfeit product without knowing it.

To combat this, brands put in place details about the products they sell to quickly identify authentic parts. Some luxury brands even indicate a serial number,especially on the most expensive parts, to avoid fraudulent sales. In addition, they are able to certify whether a product is genuine or not.

Luxury diamond jewel necklace
Counterfeiting techniques are becoming more and more advanced.

Online sales, the war on forgery

In recent years, online sales have made it easy to get all kinds of products quickly. Perfumes, leather goods, textiles, car parts, high-tech products… Products that can be bought on the official websites of the brands,but not only. Indeed, there are an infinite number of online sales sites that allow you to compare prices,or to sell in the second hand. Reputable sites like Leboncoin or Vinted,which offer attractive prices…. Which are also sites that cannot certify that a bag is genuine, or a counterfeit.

To allow a buyer to make a good deal without buying a counterfeit,luxury brands always provide several truthful elements. The packaging,or sheath in which the product is located, a purchase invoice, a certificate of authenticity,and details about the product itself. All these elements prove that a product is true. Also, a seller refusing to present these coins is probably a counterfeit owner. The reporting of the ad is therefore the first reflex to have, to avoid others falling into the trap, thinking to make a good deal.

In short, to support the economy and the luxury goods sector in particular, caution is required. Attractive prices, or products without certificates or proof of authenticity put the chip in the ear. By preferring to buy directly in a store of the brand, or on the official website … In the end, you will pay the price, but being sure to have a branded piece.


“The French and the Dangers of Counterfeiting”, Ifop Survey for the Union of Manufacturers

“Counterfeits: France, the second most affected country after theUnited States”Vie-publique, article of 24 February 2021

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