Counterfeiters Are Confusing Shoppers on Social Media

  • 48 percent of participants who bought a counterfeit were originally searching for the real product online
  • Only 9 percent of respondents who had bought fake footwear started their search with the intent of buying counterfeits
  • 35 percent of all counterfeit purchases were made not knowing the item was fake

Barcelona, September 26th – New survey findings by Red Points, the Saas online brand protection solution, has revealed that 20 percent of respondents had bought fake footwear online at some point in the past. More worryingly, nearly half of respondents (48 percent) who admitted to purchasing fake footwear online were originally searching for the real product, with only 9 percent initially looking to buy counterfeits.

This comes as research has shown that counterfeiters are increasingly using the targeting tools available on social media in order to drive traffic to their listings on e-commerce sites, causing confusion among shoppers. Indeed, with 61 percent of respondents saying they would consider buying footwear via social media, shoppers readiness to trust social media posts puts them at greater risk of being targeted by bad actors.

In fact, with estimates valuing the fake footwear industry in the region of $12 billion per year – around 10 percent of the total global market value – online shoppers are more than ever exposed to counterfeit footwear. Additionally, the survey found that 49 percent of respondents would buy fake footwear if the discount was big enough making them a primary target for counterfeits who often employ SEO techniques to appear high on the search results pages for terms such as “cheap or alternative”.

Commenting on the survey findings, Danae Vara Borrell, VP of Products at Red Points, said: “The survey findings are truly alarming and should come as a real warning for shoppers and brands alike of the danger of social media being used by counterfeiters to dupe consumers.

‘In fact, our analysts often find that many counterfeiters use social media to promote “offers” of their counterfeit products, driving consumers to their listings on more trusted ecommerce platforms or to fake domains to lure shoppers into buying knock-off products or phishing scams. Plus, counterfeiters are increasing using genuine product images for their listing and creating sophisticated websites made to look like brands’ official channels making it harder than ever for consumers to spot potential scams.

‘So unless shoppers start adopting a cautious approach to online shopping, and brands start proactively monitoring their listings on both ecommerce sites and social media, businesses will continue to lose sales revenue to counterfeit goods.”

Additionally, with more than one-quarter of respondents  (35 percent) saying they had purchased counterfeit footwear unknowingly, this suggests a clear need for more consumer education to help reduce the risk of consumers unintentionally buying fakes online.