1 in 4 Parents Are Falling for Fake Back-to-School Items

  • 13 percent of parents admit buying fake back-to-school items online
  • Of those buying knock-off school supplies, half of the respondents said they bought the fake items by mistake
  • The majority of respondents listed backpacks (27.4 percent) as the most common fake back-to-school item they bought online

Barcelona, 16th August 2018 – New survey by Red Points, the technological solution in online brand protection, has revealed that 1 in 4 parents have bought fake back-to-school items online for their children this summer. Of those buying knock-off school supplies, half of the respondents said they bought the fakes by mistake.

With the new school year looming, and families with children in kindergarten expected to spend an average of $684.79* this back-to-school season, from July to September, parents are more prone to fall for suspiciously good offers and run the risk of either unknowingly buying fakes online, or being exposed to websites selling them.

Among the top school supplies bought by parents online, children’s school backpack scored the highest with 70.3 percent, closely followed by clothes & shoes (65.8 percent) and lunchbox (45.7 percent). Meanwhile, e-commerce site Amazon was the favorite destination for parents to buy school supplies, scoring the majority of the votes (79.4 percent).

Similarly, of those who admitted to buying fake school items online, the majority of respondents listed backpacks (27.4 percent) as their most common purchase alongside stationery (17.6 percent) and electronics (18.3 percent). As child safety remains a top priority within the educational and health sphere, these findings show a clear need for educating parents on the hidden hazards linked to counterfeit back-to-school supplies like school bags.

In fact, the survey findings show that initially, parents’ opinion was split when asked if they were concerned about the problem of fake back-to-school items online, with half of the respondents saying they were concerned and the other half expressing little interest in the issue. However, when told about the dangers associated with fakes, the majority of respondents (44.7 percent) said this would drastically change their buying habits.

On the survey findings, Laura Urquizu, CEO at Red Points, said: “Back to school is an exciting time for both parents and their kids. It’s also one of the most important times to think about safety, especially when it comes to choosing the right school supplies online. It’s alarming to see that many parents are still unknowingly buying fake goods when shopping for their kids’ back-to-school items. It shows a real need for companies to take tangible steps to help protect consumers from the dangers associated with fake school items.”

Commenting on the findings, Shirley Akkerman, Sales manager at XDDesign, which is the designer and producer of the social media sensation Bobby Backpack and Red Points’ customer said:“It is important that students have a good quality backpack for their daily use. They have to carry heavy books which need a strong backpack. Fake backpacks are always made of inferior materials so less quality and have no extra protection features like extra ergonomic shape and padding in the back. Yes it is cheaper to buy but in the end more expensive because the life cycle of an original branded backpack is much longer.”

Becky Turpin, director of home and community safety for the National Safety Council, said: “The start of the school year can be a challenging time for parents; however, preparing for back to school doesn’t need to be stressful. Keeping in mind some key safety ideas before school starts can assure a safe and healthy school year,” she said. For example, when shopping for your child’s school supplies, take extra care when choosing a backpack. It may seem harmless to buy a bag online; however, key features like the size, compression straps on the side or the bottom of the bag to stabilize the contents, and ensuring that the bag uses reflective material can go a long way to prevent kids’ muscle pain and future posture problems”, Turpin said.

Interestingly, the research also shows that the majority of parents who bought fake back-to-school items online (25.3 percent) were dissatisfied with the quality of the product, which is a clear sign that parents aren’t satisfied with the low quality of fake school supplies available on the market.

About the study
Red Points commissioned a survey in August 2018 looking into US parents’ attitudes towards buying back-to-school merchandising online. In total, 550 parents aged 18 to 60 were polled in the US.

*The National Retail Federation, July 12, 2018, https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/back-school-and-college-spending-r