Beware of counterfeits: How widespread are fake products from Amazon to Alibaba?

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Trading platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay are teeming with fake products, which are very popular not only because of their low prices.

Fake products are more popular than ever before. Many young EU citizens even order them intentionally, for example,, to save money or because they have received a recommendation. You can see how many people buy counterfeit products via popular e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay, and how many end up at German customs.

On eBay, you can import fake products from abroad and sell your own old items.

Counterfeit products are on the rise; Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay make it possible
Ordering goods from abroad is no longer a major challenge these days. International trading platforms such as Amazon, eBay or Alibaba make it easier than ever for consumers to obtain cheap counterfeit products.

According to an IPC survey, Amazon leads the field. 27 per cent of the approximately 33,000 participants surveyed stated that they had made their last purchase abroad via the leading e-commerce platform. This is followed by the Chinese provider Alibaba, which has 17 percent, while eBay comes in at just 9 percent.

Imports are also increasingly being made felt by German customs. In 2022, the officials working there confiscated foreign products with a total value of almost 435 million euros. A year earlier, the figure was around 315 million; in 2020, it was only around 239 million euros.

More than a third of young EU citizens deliberately buy fake products
However, it is no coincidence that the goods ordered are often counterfeit products. According to an EUIPO survey, more than half of the approximately 22,000 respondents from 27 EU countries, all aged between 15 and 24, stated that they had bought at least one counterfeit product in 2022. 37 per cent even confirmed that they had done so intentionally. Three years earlier, the latter figure was much lower, at 14 per cent.

The most popular and most frequently intentionally purchased fake products were those from the categories of clothing, accessories, shoes, electronic devices, hygiene products, cosmetics, personal care products and fragrances. The main reasons cited by respondents for purchasing these products were the low price and good availability of the goods ordered.

In addition, social factors such as other people’s behaviour in their immediate environment or recommendations from influencers often played a key role. Many buyers simply did not care whether the product they purchased was fake.

Unintentional purchases of fake products are also not uncommon
However, misleading offers also often result in the purchase of counterfeit products. As many as 37 per cent of survey participants stated that they had unintentionally purchased at least one fake product. The main reason is that distinguishing a counterfeit from the original is often difficult.

  • source: giga.de/picture: pixabay.com/canva.com
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