Each year, many mark their calendars for the festive Black Friday sale that gets everybody on their toes. But it also serves as an attractive opportunity for counterfeiters to increase sales and attract new buyers.
A bargain with an unfortunate cost
According to an article by Red Points, Fake Black Friday deals are predicted to surge in 2019. In the US, customs officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized 164 shipments of fake designer items worth more than US$95 million in the three months before Black Friday weekend.
“Driven by the rise in ecommerce, the market for counterfeit goods in the United States has shifted in recent years from one in which consumers often knowingly purchased counterfeits to one in which counterfeiters try to deceive consumers into buying goods they believe are authentic,” says Thomas Mahn, Louisville Port Director.
Indeed, online marketplaces and social media platforms have become the go-to place for fake goods and products. Alastair Gray, senior brand protection manager at Tommy Hilfiger observed a massive increase in fraudulent advertisements of the brand on Instagram since mid-November – just in time for the sale. Other targeted brands included Furla, Justin Boots, LVMH, Nintendo, Timberland and the NFL. The 2018 Global Brand Counterfeiting Report estimated that the losses suffered due to online counterfeiting globally amounted to USD 323 Billion in 2017.
Customers purchasing from established online websites expect to receive authentic products, but that is not always the case. Large online retail brands like Amazon also experience a surge in counterfeit deals during Black Friday. Amazon’s Marketplace, a clearing house for more than 5 million third-party vendors accounts for a greater proportion of the company’s gross sales in comparison to its own operations. However, counterfeiters are able to hijack the brand registry by pretending that they are the original vendor and changing the email address. In fact, the US Department of Homeland Security took to twitter warning consumers of the fakes that could be encountered during the sale.
Don’t lose your brand in the dark
Economies are missing out on billions of dollars each year as a result of the global trade in fake goods. Ultimately, these brands need to do more to protect consumers. Companies invest a massive amount of resources – time and money included – to build their brands online. Thus, protecting the product itself should be a core part in the process. Companies and anti-counterfeiting solution-providers need to work together to win the fight against illicit trade and counterfeit goods.