The recently released “Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods” puts the value of imported fake goods worldwide based on 2016 customs seizure data at US$509 billion (3.3% of world trade), up from US$461 billion in 2013 (2.5% of world trade). For the European Union, counterfeit trade represented 6.8% of imports from non-EU countries, up from 5% in 2013 – these figures do not include domestically produced and consumed fake goods, or pirated products being distributed via the Internet. The goods making up the biggest share of 2016 seizures in dollar terms were footwear, clothing, leather goods, electrical equipment, watches, medical equipment, perfumes, toys, jewellery and pharmaceuticals.

It is estimated that up to two-thirds of perfumes and watches in secondary markets are fake. More recently, even salt and cement are involved in counterfeit trade. “This constantly expanding industry scope of counterfeiting proves that counterfeiters apply very aggressive strategies, dynamically looking for all kinds of profit opportunities”, said the OECD. The majority of fake goods picked up in customs checks are said to originate from mainland China and Hong Kong, but other major points of origin include the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand and India.

The OECD report has also noted that price is not the only factor driving consumers to consciously buy a fake item; almost 60% of buyers know they are purchasing a counterfeit but for different psychological reasons or motivations, which can include “thrill of the hunt”, being part of a “secret society” and genuine interest, with buyers often trying to “legitimise and justify their behaviour”.

theSauerReport has published an in-depth report titled; “Traceability in the Leather Supply Chain”, which includes chapters on combatting counterfeiting. To find out more click here.