Culture & Consumer of Counterfeit Goods – the Paradoxical Luxury?

Culture & Consumer of Counterfeit Goods – the Paradoxical Luxury?

What makes the counterfeit industry for luxury business thrive and who are these consumers of counterfeit goods? Can absorbing luxury management training & soft skills prove insightful to maintain authenticity? Read on !


Counterfeit products are genuine replication of original products that are arguably of esteemed quality, popularity, and production. However, it’s a duplicate made of the original product, hence a counterfeit product is also consumer fraud and illegal. It’s of lower quality in terms of durability, performance, and reliability.

Maximum counterfeit happens based on the Luxury market, hence some luxury brands have had to go to lengths to ensure they cannot be easily replicated. This involves a lot of management training and skills.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office published a report in 2016 stating that the market for counterfeit goods is an alarming $146 billion.
This is the equivalent of 2.5% of world trade in 2013 and increases from 2008 when it was 1.9%.

The Internet also makes it possible for counterfeit products to be sold and bought by consumers at large. Consumers can be easily manipulated with information and there are not many inspections of products, hence a fake Chanel bag can be sold as an original and 100% authentic.

Sometimes, the customers know what they are getting into and sometimes they are genuinely duped.
Unfortunately, the counterfeit market is an unavoidable one. Gone are the days when shopkeepers are trying to lure tourists by displaying products at their shopfront in a tourist area or taking them at the backend of their shop, taking advantage of tourists who would be awestruck by the surrounding to distinguish a luxury product.

Customers and tourists alike knowingly purchase counterfeit products of first copies in most of the emerging markets like China, India, Turkey and some parts of Europe too. Although several luxury products are copied, the counterfeit of luxury handbags remains the highest market. Often, to the untrained eye, it is so difficult to distinguish between the original product and the counterfeit one.
Brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel have been ranked with the highest counterfeit of handbags with Hermes, YSL, and Gucci following behind.

What makes the counterfeit industry still thrive?
The internet is one of the biggest theatres for its excellent performance and why it still thrives at large.
Apart from that, the need for uniqueness and individualism is one of the important characteristics of a counterfeit consumer.
The idea that money is related to and acquires social status and can be indirectly flaunted through acquiring of goods and brands. Hence people start to acquire products not for what they can do, but what the products would signify.
Thus, the purchase of counterfeit products by a certain section of consumers to gain exclusivity translates into the loss of exclusivity for actual consumers of luxury, quite paradoxical but so is luxury.
This could be made better when consumers intend to recognize the skills and training that the brands invest in their products. A better sense of empathy and perspective comes into play when a customer adapts insightful training about luxury consultancy and management.

In markets of Istanbul and India, there are local brands who openly claim of specializing in counterfeit products or replicating the skills and training of producing a Birkin leather bag. From selling to tourists and creating an online presence to sell their products, they are everywhere.
Democratization nature of the internet and the absence of consumer policies make it difficult to crack down on these duplicates that are sold with a lot of dedication as if it were a work of art.
Many times, consumers are not familiarised with luxury products, hence they are not aware when they make such purchases. Hence, luxury training for the real enthusiastic consumers will guide them to understand the true essence of luxury.

But it’s also a true fact that counterfeit of a luxury brand means the brand has achieved a level of ultimate aspiration and desire, hence the consumers who are purchasing the fake product today could be the potential consumer of the original product in 5 years as it creates that aspirational motivation.
But with a trained eye for detail of the true world of luxury, they can avoid the embarrassment of being caught with a fake product.
Counterfeit products of luxury goods in so many ways is an oxymoron to the luxury business in itself. What do you think?

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