Why are Millennials apparently addicted to Chinese knockoffs?
The apparel market is being besieged by counterfeits, and Millennials might be to blame. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2.5 percent of global imports and five percent of imports from the European Union are fakes. In addition, the number of knockoff goods seized by American customs officers jumped by nearly 10 percent between 2016 and 2017.
It may come as no surprise that, when it comes to buying illicit merchandise, frugal, impulse-buying Millennials are leading the charge.
“Our new report offers some alarming insights into Millennials’ shopping habits leading them to counterfeits,” said Laura Urquizu, Red Points CEO. “Many Millennials no longer shop off a list and tend to make purchases based on impulse, which puts them at greater risk of falling for fakes.”
In defense of Millennials, some don’t realize they are buying imitation goods in the first place. “Last year, millennials unknowingly spent $482 million on counterfeits on Black Friday, and one in four are likely to fall for counterfeits this year due to their inability to spot fakes online,” reports TBO (Trademarks & Brands Online).
Yet not all customers that buy knockoffs do so unwittingly. Consumers searching for counterfeit goods scour dark corners of the web to find pop-up sales sites for illegal merchandise that are taken down as quickly as they go up. Shady buyers also find fakes by private messaging independent sellers on Amazon or by physically visiting places such as Canal Street in New York City, a hub for illegal merchandise.
Despite U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s best efforts, counterfeits may become even easier to obtain as Chinese B2B platform Alibaba permeates the U.S. market.
When it comes to what type of products are the most replicated, apparel is the top offender, accounting for 15 percent of all shipments seized by U.S. customs officials. Second on the list is watches — but keep in mind that these confiscated shipments aren’t all comprised of knockoff Chanel coats and Rolexes.
USA Today reports, “The Super Bowl is one of the main targets for counterfeiters. Operation Team Player, an effort to curb counterfeit sports items, recovered a reported 24,324 items worth over $1 million just before the big game.”
Some knockoff manufacturers are so skilled at making replicas that the fake merch is nearly impossible to detect, and the price tags makes them difficult for frugal customers to resist.
“Consider that the average cost of a jersey is $100,” says Kevin Redlich, a client solutions manager in Milwaukee, WI. “You can get a knockoff for $25.”
- Free Trade Zones are Being Used to Traffic Counterfeit Goods – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
- Clothing, Jewelry, Prescription Drugs, Among America’s Most Counterfeited Items – USA Today
- Counterfeit Seizures Grew by Almost 10 Percent in the U.S. Last Year – The Fashion Law
- Millennials Warned Over Black Friday Fakes in New Report – TBO
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think that Millennials, in particular, fall prey to purchasing knockoff goods? What factors will contribute to the growth or demise of the counterfeit market in 2019?