Consumers overestimate their ability to spot fake watches online

  • 43.5 percent of respondents said they evaluate the trustworthiness of a product or seller by the quality of the photos used when counterfeiters can easily manipulate online listing photos
  • About three-quarters of the respondents have some degree of confidence that they can spot a fake
  • After viewing photos of real and fake watches currently on sale online, respondents’ overall confidence levels plunged

Barcelona, 5th JulyNew research from Red Point, the technological solution in online brand protection, has found that the quality of the product photos used for a listing was one of the key deceiving factors leading consumers into believing they are buying genuine products online.

High-quality photos are usually intended to help customers better evaluate products when they can’t touch or see them in a store, and often imply that a merchant is more professional. However, in recent years, counterfeiters have been using it as a way to mislead consumers. Interestingly, when respondents were asked how confident they were in their ability to identify a fake watch, 27 percent said they were not confident. However, after viewing photos of real and fake watches currently on sale online, that figure jumped to 42.5 percent indicating that confidence is based on a false idea of what fake looks like.

Over the last few years the increasing importance of the digital marketplace, coupled with outdated pricing structures, has reinforced an aggressive counterfeit market, with fake watch sales representing $1.08 billion worth of sales annually*. More worryingly, findings show that 65 percent of those who bought a fake watch online were satisfied with the product even when the quality was lower, making it a priority for watch manufacturers to take action.

When it comes to buying watches online, the report also shows that style is overwhelmingly the leading factor, with nearly half of all respondents reporting that it was the most important consideration. In fact, watches with strong brand recognition, like Rolex, figured high on the list of those who said they purchased watches online over the past three years.

Meanwhile, Google (82 percent) and Amazon (84 percent) were the most popular online channels to buy watches online compared to brands’ own websites with only 33.5 percent of consumers saying that they use it in their search.

Commenting on the report findings Laura Urquizu, CEO of Red Points, said: “It’s loud and clear from the report findings that buying watches is often a style-driven purchase, making watch buyers easy targets for those who use high-quality images and professional-looking websites to imitate companies with strong brand recognition. More worryingly, our findings show that over a third of watch buyers are still falling prey to counterfeiters’ deceptive product images when shopping online. At Red Points, we use an advanced keyword-monitoring system with image recognition to detect IP infringements wherever they occur and protect consumers from the dangers posed by counterfeiters ’.

Lastly, three-quarters of respondents said they would consider buying a watch via a social media post or advert, with 13 percent of participants who purchased a watch this way saying they would do it again. As consumers are increasingly using a range of platforms to purchase watches, protective strategies like monitoring social media and e-commerce sites, and using image and object recognition, are becoming necessary for watch brands to identify where consumers are being led astray.



About Red Points

Red Points is a global leader in brand and copyright protection that uses unmatched technology to defend international brands and online content owners against counterfeiting and digital piracy. Red Points is the preferred brand protection partner for prestigious global brands and content owners in the sporting, entertainment, fashion, editorial, design and luxury industries, providing unique services across the entire digital spectrum. The company has been devoted to protecting creativity, innovation, and design since 2011. To learn more about Red Points, please visit

For more information, please contact to:

Laetitia Woue
Public Relations Specialist at Red Points
+34 934 189 433