While August weather means primetime for beach-goers, it’s also primetime for online scammers and counterfeiters, who prey on unsuspecting buyers attracted to deeply discounted items.
Counterfeit products pose serious threats to businesses and consumers alike, costing US businesses between $200 and $250 billion each year. It is estimated that between 5-7 percent of the world’s trade is comprised of counterfeit goods. In addition to fiscal losses for businesses, counterfeit products can also be extremely dangerous to consumer health and safety.
In this seasonal report we examined brand abuses among 4 popular summer products including a brand name barbecue, camping equipment and 2 summer fashion accessories. This analysis looked at business to business (B2B) trading sites—where the majority of bulk buying is done—and business to consumer (B2C) ecommerce sites, as well as search engines product inquiries.
The brands we examined include:
- Sperry Top-Sider
- Maui Jim
Just because it's summer doesn't mean counterfeiters are on vacation—In fact, just the opposite is true. OpSec found that suspect counterfeiters do have a strong presence during the summer months. Questionable goods were found across several online channels that attract millions of visitors every year.
The majority of Sperry Top-Sider listings on a popular B2B trade board advertised the shoes at up to 90 percent off the average retail price. In one particular listing for tents, a seller offers a popular Coleman tent model for $6 - $7 each. Coleman family-size tents retail at approximately $200-$300. Listings for popular items such as Maui Jim sunglasses and Weber grills showed similar traits. A search for Maui Jim sunglasses showed listings that advertised pairs for as little as $0.1 each. Authentic Maui Jims average $260 per pair.
- Sperry Top-Sider shoe listings advertised an average production rate of 64,000 pieces per month. Given the average retail value of Sperry Top-Sider shoes is $90; this represents a potential loss of approximately $57.6 million.
- Coleman tent listings showed an average production rate of 72,000 pieces per month. Since the average retail value of a Coleman tent is between $200-$300, this could mean a potential loss of about $21.6 million.
- Maui Jim sunglasses listings showed an average production rate of about 20,000 pieces per month. Given the average retail value of Maui Jim sunglasses is $260; this represents a potential loss of about $5.2 million.
- Weber Grill listings showed an average production rate of about 340,000 pieces per month. Given the average retail value of Weber Grills is $260; this represents a potential loss of about $85 million.
While the heavily discounted prices of these items may seem appealing to the average consumer, it is extremely important to remain vigilant when shopping online. Counterfeits are hardly ever the same quality as the real deal, and could be putting you and your family in danger. Fake sunglasses, for example, will rarely offer the same UVA/UVB protection as authentic ones, and will most likely break after just a few uses. Always be sure to purchase from an authorized retailer, and always do your homework before buying:
- A price that looks too good to be true means it probably is
- Misspellings on packaging are a dead giveaway of a fake
- Check for inconsistencies with labels or tags – real merchandise should have the same colors, typeface, and logos on each tag.
For more information about counterfeit products and to learn about OpSec Security’s brand protection solutions, please visit www.opsecsecurity.com.