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Fakes: dispelling price tag myths

Even with a keen eye, telling an original from a fake is not always as easy as it seems. Common sense dictates that by avoiding apparently discounted products, consumers can dodge the counterfeiting bullet. With increasingly advanced technology however, counterfeiters have got much better at imitation and consequently prices are not far off the original.

Imitation, not the best form of flattery

Other than costing billions in lost revenue and affecting employment figures, counterfeit products actually damage both the manufacturer and the consumer in equal measure: Certilogo studies have shown that discount prices are no longer a reliable benchmark for identifying a fake product. Further fuel is thrown onto the luxury market fire then when we see that owing to investment in advanced technology, counterfeit product quality has increased. When ‘Too good to be true’ changes to, ‘Excellent but false’, quality copies are offset by counterfeiters in the latest fool-proof way of ensuring sales: by increasing their prices to almost match those of the original product.

Just as the demand for a popular brand or product increases, the counterfeit market keeps pace. Fraudulent sites selling counterfeits pop up as ads more frequently on social media than the originals, and very often consumers are scammed.

Debunking misconceptions

In our latest news article, ‘The silver lining of fake products’ we highlighted the escalation in knock-offs being sold to well-intentioned consumers and in this one we show how they are not necessarily priced to their expectations.

Certilogo’s platform has analysed the prices of hundreds of thousands of fake and authenticproducts over the past few months from the fashion and luxury sector, and has come up with a few surprising facts. The large price gap between the authentic and its lookalike has proved not as wide as we might think.

On comparing prices between the authentic product and its fake counterpart, we discovered that, on average, the price of a knock-off is only actually 15 percent lower.

Fakes: Dispelling price tag myths.

All that glitters is not gold

Surely it’s original if it costs nearly the same price? As our data shows, the average price paid for a fake is only 15 percent less than the original, the difference in price between the genuine and the counterfeit product can actually range from 4 percent to 36 percent, depending on whether consumers  are unsuspecting or aware that they’re buying a fake. In fact, unsuspecting consumers end up spending on average only four percent less than the original whereas those who know they are buying counterfeit items spend a good 36 percent less. This approach points to the psychological effect used by counterfeiters on consumers in order to offload quality counterfeit.

Prices increase slightly again to only 27 percent less in the consumer who suspects but isn’t absolutely sure it’s false, hence the abyss between willingly or unwittingly buying counterfeit.

Once burned, twice shy

And here, the rub; the consumer, on discovering it’s a fake, after paying only four percent less than the genuine article and who honestly believed it to be genuine, realises they have no recourse to justice. More importantly, the more quality counterfeits circulate on the market, the more important it is for a consumer to be able to tell the difference between that and an original. This is a mistake that can end up being prohibitive and costly for a brand, as the consumer loses faith in both retailer and brand. Despite this, all is not lost.

When a brand offers the consumer  an instant authentication tool and access to the Certilogo Fake Report as part of the purchase experience, it allows swindled consumersto claim a refund from payment services and/or fraudulent sellers. The reimbursed funds then become an invaluable reinvenstment to entice customers  to buy from official social channels to recoup lost revenue. A service offered at the right moment can make a reassuring difference to a consumer, protecting brand loyalty and recovering lost revenue. Genuine customer care pays.

Fakes: Dispelling price tag myths.

Prevention, better than cure

Before buying a product, the consumer usually makes sure all the boxes for an authentic product are ticked when it comes to detailsquality, and price. On spending next to the same price as the original, to their mind it must actually be real. As we have seen, sadly, this is not the case.

On examining the data, we see that sellers perceived as trustworthy are selling the counterfeit at a mere three percent less than the original while well-known or suspected fraudulent vendors tend to sell counterfeits on average for 28/29 percent less. Unfortunately, the first thing lost after a consumer buys from a reputable retailer and discovers their product to be false, is trust.

One of the most dangerous downsides of a costly mistake is that a consumer can fall out of love with a brand. In fact, as seen in our previous news, 'The Silver lining of Counterfeits' about one third is either unsure or unwilling to keep buying the same brand.

Fakes: Dispelling price tag myths.

Loyalty pays

How then can a consumer avoid being scammed if the price is no longer a reliableindicator of a counterfeit? Certilogo has ascertained that consumers who keep up to date, study, follow, subscribe and regularly purchase from their favourite brand are less likely to fall victims of fraud than occasional shoppers. It’s interesting to quantify how much a loyal customer is less likely to purchase a fake than an occasional shopper. In fact, those who occasionally buy the brand are 28 percent more likely to be swindled and those who only buy one product from the brand, an incredible 44 percent.

Brand loyalty therefore seems to be the airtight solution to the counterfeiting game. In an increasingly digitalised market, where online shopping is becoming ever more fragmented, it has become much easier to buy counterfeit goods due to the marginal price differencebetween the original and its fake counterpart and sellers that pop up everywhere are not what they seem.

Today many touchpoints contribute to building loyalty between the brand and its customers, and the physical product itself is one of them. Brands that have the know-how to exploit a product as a channel of communication and intercept fakes purchased in ignorance, exploit a potentially detrimental contact moment for the brand image and transform it into a positive customer experience.

Where a brand ensures authenticity is promoted as a value and is instrumental in intercepting a counterfeit, they instill trust and strengthen loyalty, thereby making customers less likely to mistakenly purchase fake products in the future.

As they are less likely to be scammed over time, consumers build a stronger connection with brands and come to play an important role in the fight against counterfeiting.

This service emphasises authenticity as a value and, as a result, the brand as leader, establishing a ‘care is core’ key metric.


The Certilogo Authentication Platform assessment of authenticity and Certilogo’s Fake Report refund tool are invaluable for (re) building confidence, trust, brand knowledge and growing loyalty.

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10 Nov 2020

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