Secret society fuels the growth of fake products, cautions OECD

The overall value of counterfeit goods from dodgy handbags to knock-off watches is worth around $700 billion annually which is further bolstered by consumers on the lookout of secret societies that enjoy the thrill of quality counterfeits.

As per a new report by OECD on fake goods the business of fakes has increased over the past three years and now represents 3.3 per cent of the world trade. Its previous study put the trade at 2.5 per cent. Some of the most counterfeited products are perfumes, handbags, leather goods, clothing, footwear, watches, toys and jewellery.

Over the past three years, OECD found that more goods are being faked including artificial fur, salt, lime, cement, guitars and construction materials. “This constantly expanding industry scope of counterfeiting proves that counterfeiters apply very aggressive strategies, dynamically looking for all kinds of profit opportunities,” the OECD found.

“Moreover, this growth was reported during a period of a relative slowdown in overall world trade. Consequently, the intensity of counterfeiting and piracy is on the rise, with significant potential risk for intellectual property in the knowledge-based, open and globalised economy.”

China and Hong Kong are the main sources for fakes, but the report found there has been an increase in knock-offs of products made in both centres. “Recent psychological research illustrates a number of other motivations, such as the “thrill of the hunt” for what is fake, being part of a “secret society” and genuine interest. Buyers of counterfeit products also “try to legitimise and justify their behaviour,” it found.