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| 1 minute read

Bad influence? A study into the role of social media influencers and their impact on the sale of counterfeit goods.

With an estimated 4.9 billion global users, social media provides a fantastic opportunity for brand owners to promote their goods to a wide audience. Between the fashionistas and the fitness gurus, it's hard to navigate these digital platforms without encountering the glamorous ‘influencers’ whose regular digital content captivates their audiences across the globe.

Whilst celebrity and third party endorsements are by no means a recent marketing strategy used by brands, the rise of social media influencers has created a lucrative opportunity for brands to supply consistent endorsement opportunities and promote their products on a grand scale. However, this opportunity also carries the potential for deviant exploitation and a recent study by the University of Portsmouth has considered the potential impact that social media influencers have on the sale of counterfeit goods.

The study, which focused on 2000 regular social media users aged between 16-60 and located in the United Kingdom, estimates that a staggering 22% of this focus group had purchased counterfeit goods because they had been promoted by social media influencers and found that the majority of these individuals were aware that the goods were counterfeit at the time of purchase.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results show that counterfeit clothing and accessories was the most popular product category, but the study also shows an interesting correlation between gender and likely purchase habits. The study also goes further to consider a variety of possible reasoning behind the purchase of counterfeit goods.

This unusual study contains many interesting points for brand owners to consider when monitoring and enforcing the online counterfeit market. For more information and advice, Marks & Clerk is well placed to assist brand owners in the development and improvement of their online enforcement strategy.

Returning to the impact of trusted digital others, one-fifth (22%) of consumers buy counterfeits because of SMI (Social Media Influencers) endorsements; 17% are knowing buyers, but 5% are unknowing


anti-counterfeiting, brands & trade marks, yes