Counterfeits cost European economy €16bn each year

Counterfeit products – mainly clothes – cost the European economy €16 billion a year and result in nearly 200,000 lost jobs, the EU’s Intellectual Property Office has said.

The findings, based on data from 2018 to 2021, show that fakes take the biggest toll on the clothing sector, costing €12bn annually, or 5.2% of its overall revenues, the agency said.

Fake cosmetics account for €3bn of losses while toys represent €1bn, though the EUIPO cautioned that “Counterfeiting, like any illegal activity, cannot be accurately measured”.

It based its findings on the number of items seized by police as well as the percentage of Europeans who admitted to buying counterfeit products in each country in the bloc.

A study from June 2023 found that one-third of Europeans deemed it acceptable to buy fake goods if the price of the authentic item was deemed too high – a percentage that rose to half of all youth respondents.

The bulk of the counterfeiting occurred in just five EU members, with Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Austria accounting for half the yearly losses.

Based on the findings, the EUIPO said Germany was losing 40,000 jobs a year, Italy 24,000, and France and Spain 15,000 jobs each.

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