Counterfeit Sales Expected to Spike This Holiday Shopping Season

According to Red Points holiday e-commerce guide, which looks at how counterfeiting changes during the holiday season, the increase in online shoppers has created a larger pool of consumers at risk for purchasing fake items. The survey revealed that 56 percent of consumers believe they have purchased a fake item during the holiday season.

Research from the company found that 58 percent of U.S. consumers are planning to spend more this year while online shopping than they did in 2020, for an average increase of $265. And congruently, the survey found consumers are choosing quality over price. In fact, while consumers ranked price as the most important factor during holiday shopping in 2020, both product reviews and ratings and brand reputation were found to be more important this year.

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Meanwhile, a heavy amount of shopping will happen online this holiday season with 72 percent of consumers saying they plan on shopping at marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, for the holidays.

Knowing that more consumers will be going online to shop for the holiday season, Red Points said it is important for businesses to plan ahead to properly protect against scammers, starting by taking proactive steps that align with new consumer behaviors.

“We expect businesses with e-commerce presence to continue to drive revenue over the holidays,” said Daniel Shapiro, vice president of brand relationships at Red Points. “Unfortunately, the current conditions have also made it easy for scammers to capitalize on the 2021 holiday shopping season. With the current supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19, there is a risk that many companies will not be able to meet the demand for the holiday season. This means more shoppers may look outside legitimate sellers when shopping online causing them to fall prey to counterfeiters.”

While Red Points notes it takes only minutes for a scammer to create an illegitimate site, ramifications can be long-lasting for the brand they are stealing from. In fact, 40 percent of consumers told the company they believe it is the brand’s responsibility to remove fakes from online channels, compared to 32 percent that said the platform is responsible and 22 percent who said law enforcement is responsible.

At the same time, 39 percent of consumers said they would stop buying from a brand after receiving a fake — even if they did not buy the item directly from the brand’s site. Notably, of those consumers who said they had bought a fake item or counterfeit online, 35 percent said they bought it from social media while 25 percent said they had made the purchase from a marketplace.

“Every second that a fake seller is up and selling counterfeit products puts your brand at further risk of being blacklisted by shoppers during the busiest buying time of the year,” the authors of the report said. “You will have to take monitoring for fake sellers into your own hands and do everything you can to take down any counterfeits before they can make sales and scam your would-be customers.”

Ultimately, Red Points notes, it isn’t enough to count on online marketplaces to handle illegitimate sellers or be able to detect all scammers. The company advises that brands invest in automated brand protection, monitor sales channels for IP infringement, track social media accounts with similar names and products and keep an eye on product reviews.

While in years past it may have been enough to put extra securing on just Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year Red Points said it is vital for brands to be “intensively monitoring for illegitimate sellers and infringement will be necessary throughout the entire holiday season.”


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