Brits are unknowingly spending over £3.2bn ($4bn) a year on fake designer goods, research suggests.
Many shoppers want to avoid buying “dupes” of their favourite designer brands, but one in three — or 22 million — Brits have been tricked into buying fake goods online, H&T Pawnbrokers found.
On top of this, there is also growing demand for a “fakes” market. The sale of fake handbags and jewellery alone cost the industry £3.1bn worldwide in 2020, the data shows.
Clothing is the industry worst-hit by fake products. Searches for knock-offs of Kanye West’s brand Yeezy top 15,000 a month in the UK, making it the most-desired brand for counterfeits among Brits, the data shows.
Luxury fashion house Balenciaga comes in second place. “Fake Balenciaga” rakes in over 15,300 UK searches a month.
On top of this, replica jewellery is also on the rise. Rolex is the most-counterfeited watch worldwide and the third-most ripped-off brand in the UK, with a very clear demand of 14,000 searches a month.
Ray-Ban comes in fourth, with searches for copies of the designer sunglasses topping 8,200 a month.
Another high-end fashion house, Gucci, rounds out the top five. Searches for fakes top 8,100 a month, the data shows.
As both the intentional “fakes” and counterfeits markets grow in popularity, the quality of replicas is increasing, with it becoming harder and harder to tell an original from a copy, H&T warned.
However, a high-quality designer bag will hold its shape, while a fake will generally give away with a “weaker curve”, the pawnbroker said.
H&T also offered some tips for spotting “fakes” and ensuring you bag real-deal designer goods.
How to spot designer knock-offs
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is — Always research the price before making a purchase and if possible, compare it to a known genuine example, H&T said
Look for mistakes — Misspellings on labels, logos and instructions can give away fakes
Don’t believe everything you read — Paperwork does not guarantee authenticity, as it can be easily forged
Cover yourself — Always get a receipts and check the returns policy
If in doubt, leave it out — Trust your gut and don’t pay for anything you’re not sure of, H&T warned
Sarah Buck from H&T said: "Counterfeit designer goods are becoming increasingly common, particularly within the online second-hand market where consumers cannot see the items before they purchase them.
We would always recommend customers to do their research and buy from trusted sellers. Check reviews and see if they have past experience of selling and try using sites which authenticate products for you so you don't need to worry about authenticity.”
“At H&T we carry out thorough checks through our expert valuations team to ensure quality with our products every time so we can confirm if your item is the real deal."