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The plague of counterfeit products – Axios

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Data: Sapio Research poll for Incopro conducted in Oct. 2019, among 1,059 U.S. consumers in all 50 states. Margin of error ±2.2%; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Holiday season spending is here, with the frenzy of Black Friday, Cyber Monday,and all the other temptations in full play.

The big picture: This year, Black Friday spending rose an astonishing 20%; even Thanksgiving Day, when most brick-and-mortar stores are closed, was a retail extravaganza, seeing $4.2 billion spent online. But as shopping goes digital, it’s easier than ever to find yourself buying fakes — either deliberately or by mistake.

  • By the numbers: A new survey from Sapio Research, commissioned by the U.K. brand-reputation consultancy Incopro, finds that 26% of American consumers bought an item in the past year believing it to be real, only to find out later that the thing they bought was a fake.
  • The other side: That subset of consumers — call them the Dupes — are also much more likely to deliberately seek out and buy counterfeit goods (as seen in the bottom set of bars in the chart). Some 68% of the Dupes also bought counterfeits on purpose, whereas less than 6% of everybody else did.

What they’re saying: Web psychologist Nathalie Nahai says that “when consumers are seeking out items at a specific cost, their desire to meet that price point may well override their desire for authentic products, which can result in a higher likelihood of purchasing counterfeit goods.”

The bottom line: Sometimes counterfeits are bought deliberately, and sometimes inadvertently — but it does seem likely that the people buying fakes tend to be the most price-sensitive consumers.

Go deeper: Holiday shoppers are unfazed by recession fears

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