From cigarettes to fashion accessories to food and pharmaceuticals, more than 50% of the world market is filled with counterfeit products. Do you realize that the Nike t-shirt you’re probably wearing right now might not even exist in Nike Inc.’s design portfolio? It could have fake money for sale online been made by a small designer sitting in the busy back streets of New Delhi, India and costs less than $1 to give you the Swoosh in any colour, shape and design you want! A true form of “made to measure”.
Once the brand becomes popular
In a way, counterfeiting is the smartest way to do business in the 21st century. Think about it. Large global companies spend millions of dollars to develop a brand and as soon as the brand becomes popular, millions of business people on the other side of the world start thinking of a strategy to expand their product lines! In other words, people who run the fake market seem to be a lot smarter than an investment banker. They do their business at the expense of big corporations.
In India alone, the “counterfeit” market is valued at more than $2 billion and is growing at nearly 20% each year. With weak enforcement of intellectual property rights and growing corruption, there is no doubt that driving a fake car will be very soon! If you think this isn’t going to happen to you, think again. There are almost 128 “known versions” of Parachute Hair Oil, 113 of Fair & Lovely Creme, 44 of Vicks VapoRub and 38 of Clinic Plus Shampoo. The reason they are so popular with counterfeiters is because they are profitable brands with great appeal that can be easily reproduced and sold in the Indian market. The problem affects all product categories across the country – drugs, FMCG products, cosmetics, groceries, carbonated soft drinks, spirits, watches, clothing and even currency. Consumers are often unaware that they are purchasing products that meet their needs. This worries businesses as counterfeit products often build on the success of the genuine product, reducing sales and, in some cases, harming consumers. It’s the easiest for counterfeiters. Put a passable product in a tube, with markings resembling the real thing, and market it in rural, semi-urban areas through promoters, agents, and retailers willing to make a quick buck. For most, the scammer job is easy to do.
Look at the numbers.
Counterfeit products account for $200 billion annually. Ironically, it’s endemic even in countries like China, which is known for flooding the world market with cheap products. In China, losses from counterfeiting account for about 20 percent of the total sales of multinational companies such as Procter & Gamble (US$150 million), Nike (US$70 million), Unilever (US$24 million), Gillette (US$20 million -dollars) and Johnson & Johnson ($15 million) and $6 million for BestFoods.
Most counterfeit products are top selling brands and consumers could be seriously affected if they consume low quality adulterated products, especially in the food and drug categories. These are usually manufactured under unsanitary conditions and without proper technical supervision. According to a study of 30 FMCG companies conducted by AC Nielsen in India, eight out of 10 consumers who bought pass-off products felt cheated and only knew the product was pass-off after they bought it. Surprisingly, 42 percent of all consumers surveyed were aware of the existence of pass-off brands in the marketplace and had either seen them in stores, read about them in newspapers or seen them on TV. Although brands like Pepsi and Coke in India have lowered prices significantly in order to make their products appeal to the masses, counterfeit products still score due to low consumer awareness. And the manufacturers of counterfeit products are lucky because there are hardly any input costs, no safety standards, no excise duties or taxes paid.
Unfortunately, sources say, the cost of the fight will have to be borne
It takes more than the vigilance of a brand team to fight clever counterfeiters. Unfortunately, sources say, the cost of the fight will have to be borne entirely by such companies. According to a source, the introduction of tamper-evident packaging and hologram practices are prohibitive practices that will drive up prices and deter the cost-sensitive Indian shopper. Holograms can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $5 million! Ironically, higher prices can make customers switch loyalty better than the best advertising campaigns. Despite the seriousness, almost all companies are vague about consumer education methods. They shy away from aggressive methods, mainly because Indian consumers tend to avoid the counterfeit product altogether rather than determine if it is genuine
SOMETHING TO SEASON IT FURTHER
According to the website of De La Rue, a UK-based commercial security printer and paper manufacturer involved in the production of over 150 national currencies and a wide range of security documents:
- Ten percent of perfumes and cosmetics and eleven percent of clothing and shoes bought by consumers are counterfeit.
- There are approximately 160 websites that offer “real” Chanel products, although Chanel does not sell any of its products on the internet.
- The US FDA has recalled $7 million worth of intra-aortic pumps used in open-heart surgeries after discovering faulty counterfeit parts in the devices.
- Fake baby food caused some babies to develop skin rashes and seizures after drinking.
- US investigators discovered that more than 600 helicopters sold to US civilians and NATO were fitted with counterfeit parts.
- Fake perfumes have been found to contain urine as a stabilizer.
- It is estimated that 4,100 jobs are lost to counterfeiting in the UK every year – ruining industry and draining funds that would otherwise have flowed to public services.
“There will always be fakes. They are the subculture of 21st century business.”
Still, it’s the naked eye that can see and tell if something isn’t quite right in a container. Visual inspection is required for auto parts; unfortunately a lot of fake parts come through. A global epidemic is underway and has little to do with terrorists and everything to do with fake car parts. Let’s take a look at the “counterfeit parts industry” and how to avoid getting caught.
Yes, it’s an industry…the counterfeit auto parts business. Every year, billions of dollars worth of counterfeit auto parts are produced around the world and distributed to unsuspecting consumers. In some countries, the problem has gotten completely out of hand, resulting in injuries or even death to drivers and their passengers.
Commonly counterfeited parts include:
- rocker arm
- transmission fluids
- distributor caps
- brake pad set
- air conditioner condensers
- shock absorbers and struts
- oxygen sensors
- spark plugs
The list goes on and on and on
So how can you spot a fake auto part? A visual inspection of the product is very important. Look at the part and feel it. If it looks or looks different than the part it replaces, that can be a sure sign it’s a fake. Also, carefully inspect the packaging: oddly shaped or mismatched packaging, mismatched logos, typos, and anything out of the ordinary should alert you.
No, you cannot guarantee that you will never buy a fake car part, but you can certainly reduce the chances. Only deal with reputable retailers and avoid buying from overseas suppliers when shopping online. How is that? Because wholesalers buy everything directly from the manufacturer.
The counterfeit auto parts industry is booming, but you can do your part to lessen its impact. Be aware of what you are buying and only buy your auto parts from reputable dealers who stand by everything they sell.
Outsourcing contributed to the counterfeiting of American brands
I’m no genius, but as an American “shopper” I certainly qualify as an expert. We Americans have this shopping thing on our hands, especially when it comes to saving money on our favorite brands. Most of us don’t? Some will say they will only wear Wrangler jeans, others prefer Levis. This is an age old debate, similar to Coke and Pepsi.
As it turns out, my two favorite leather and denim brands have always been Coach Leather Ware and Levis Jeans. I’ve been buying these products my whole life. When it comes to leather, there are many options. Some only buy Wilson leather, others insist on Harley Davidson leather, and the list goes on. All of these brands mentioned are from the United States and have been manufactured in the USA for decades.
My favorite brands and it didn’t take me long to understand them
I started noticing that the material was thinner and just not the same on our Levis. What happened to our favorite brands?
Literally a nightmare! I had to start studying every detail just to be sure if I was getting the original product or not! Suddenly shopping became very complicated.
All of this started
When we made the mistake of producing our famous products in other countries. Literally stealing our brands! For buyers like me, that was heartbreaking. How much more American can you get than a pair of LEVIS jeans? Our cowboys wore them for goodness sake! And now countries like China are duplicating and ruining them? How sad is that? And why did we allow that?