A Role for the Consumer in the Prevention of Counterfeit Goods
This study provides the first concrete evidence that the use of security labels with overt features offers a way forward to engage consumers in the fight against counterfeit goods.
The production and sale of counterfeit goods is growing dramatically, primarily due to direct internet-based sales from counterfeiter to consumer. Although consumers are often unwitting participants in the vast illegal marketplace of counterfeit goods (estimated to be worth US$ 2-4 trillion worldwide), their purchase choices and responses to counterfeit products nevertheless fuel this criminal enterprise. Yet, consumers could have a vital role in the fight against counterfeits, as they do when it comes to banknotes.
A recent study explores how effective use of security labels equipped with overt features that enable consumers to easily and confidently authenticate a product, could be an effective anti-counterfeit measure for consumer products. The study was conducted by asking a representative sample of UK consumers to inspect and handle a set of over-the-counter (OTC) medicine products that did or did not have a security label with overt features. The study addressed three pertinent questions:
- Do security labels with overt features attract attention?
- Do security labels with overt features attract more interaction?
- Do security labels with overt features boost confidence in authentication?
The scientists conducting the study monitored the consumers’ eye and hand movements as they considered each product. Together, the findings of the study show that effective use of well-designed security labels with unique, yet obvious overt features are viewed favourably by consumers and provide them with strong signals of authenticity.
This study was conducted by Jane Raymond in collaboration with SICPA. Jane is a consumer psychologist and expert in visual and emotional cognition. She is director of Secure Perception Research, Ltd. and holds the Chair of Visual Cognition at the University of Birmingham.
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