The $300 Billion Counterfeit Goods Problem, and How It Hurts Brands
When you are walking along the boardwalk on vacation, you know it’s a “buyer beware” type of situation when you buy directly from a street vendor.
Those Cuban cigars are probably not Cubans, the Louis Vuitton bag is a cheap replica, and the Versace sunglasses too cheap to be the real thing.
But what if you placed an order for something you thought was truly legitimate, and the fake brand had you fooled? What if this imitation product fell apart in a week, short-circuited, or even caused you direct harm?
Can you Spot a Fake?
Today’s infographic comes to us from Best Choice Reviews, and it highlights facts and figures around counterfeit goods that are passed off as quality brands, and how this type of activity damages consumers, businesses, and the wider economy.
In 2018, counterfeit goods caused roughly $323 billion of damage to the global economy.
These fake products, which pretend to by genuine by using similar design and packaging elements, are not only damaging to the reputations of real brands – they also lead to massive issues for consumers, including the possibility of injury or death.
A Surprisingly Widespread Issue
While it’s easy to downplay the issue of fake goods, it turns out that the data is pretty clear on the subject – and counterfeit goods are finding their way into consumer hands in all sorts of ways.
More than 25% of consumers have unwillingly purchased non-genuine goods online – and according to a test by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, it was found that two of every five brand name products they bought online (through 3rd party retailers) were counterfeits.
Some of the most common knockoff goods were as follows:
- Makeup – 32%
- Skincare – 25%
- Supplements – 22%
- Medication – 16%
- Economic Impact
On a macro scale, the sale of counterfeit goods can snowball into other issues. For example, U.S. accusations of Chinese manufacturers for stealing and reproducing intellectual property has been a major driver of tariff action.
- Unsecure Information
Counterfeit merchants present higher risks for credit card fraud or identity theft, while illegal download sites can host malware that steals personal information
- Criminal Activity
Funds from illicit goods can also be used to help bankroll other illegal activities, such as extortion or terrorism.
- Unsafe Problems
It was found that 99% of all fake iPhone chargers failed to pass critical safety tests – and 10% of medical products are counterfeits in developing countries, which can raise the risk of illness or even death.
Aside from the direct impact on consumers and brands themselves, why does this matter?
The Importance of Spotting Fakes
Outside of the obvious implications, counterfeit activity can open up the door to bigger challenges as well.
The issue of fake goods is not only surprisingly widespread in the online era, but the imitation of legitimate brands can also be a catalyst for more serious problems.
As a consumer, there are several things you can do to increase the confidence in your purchases, and it all adds up to make a difference.
Mapped: The Growth in House Prices by Country
Global house prices were resilient in 2022, rising 6%. We compare nominal and real price growth by country as interest rates surged.
Mapped: The Growth in House Prices by Country
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Global housing prices rose an average of 6% annually, between Q4 2021 and Q4 2022.
In real terms that take inflation into account, prices actually fell 2% for the first decline in 12 years. Despite a surge in interest rates and mortgage costs, housing markets were noticeably stable. Real prices remain 7% above pre-pandemic levels.
In this graphic, we show the change in residential property prices with data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
The Growth in House Prices, Ranked
The following dataset from the BIS covers nominal and real house price growth across 58 countries and regions as of the fourth quarter of 2022:
|4||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||20.6||1.0|
|15||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||10.0||-0.7|
|16||🇸🇰 Slovak Republic||9.7||-4.8|
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates
|26||🇺🇸 United States||7.1||0.0|
|40||🇿🇦 South Africa||3.1||-4.0|
|47||🇰🇷 South Korea||-0.1||-5.0|
|57||🇳🇿 New Zealand||-10.4||-16.5|
|58||🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||-13.5||-15.1|
Türkiye’s property prices jumped the highest globally, at nearly 168% amid soaring inflation.
Real estate demand has increased alongside declining interest rates. The government drastically cut interest rates from 19% in late 2021 to 8.5% to support a weakening economy.
Many European countries saw some of the highest price growth in nominal terms. A strong labor market and low interest rates pushed up prices, even as mortgage rates broadly doubled across the continent. For real price growth, most countries were in negative territory—notably Sweden, Germany, and Denmark.
Nominal U.S. housing prices grew just over 7%, while real price growth halted to 0%. Prices have remained elevated given the stubbornly low supply of inventory. In fact, residential prices remain 45% above pre-pandemic levels.
How Do Interest Rates Impact Property Markets?
Global house prices boomed during the pandemic as central banks cut interest rates to prop up economies.
Now, rates have returned to levels last seen before the Global Financial Crisis. On average, rates have increased four percentage points in many major economies. Roughly three-quarters of the countries in the BIS dataset witnessed negative year-over-year real house price growth as of the fourth quarter of 2022.
Interest rates have a large impact on property prices. Cross-country evidence shows that for every one percentage point increase in real interest rates, the growth rate of housing prices tends to fall by about two percentage points.
When Will Housing Prices Fall?
The rise in U.S. interest rates has been counteracted by homeowners being reluctant to sell so they can keep their low mortgage rates. As a result, it is keeping inventory low and prices high. Homeowners can’t sell and keep their low mortgage rates unless they meet strict conditions on a new property.
Additionally, several other factors impact price dynamics. Construction costs, income growth, labor shortages, and population growth all play a role.
With a strong labor market continuing through 2023, stable incomes may help stave off prices from falling. On the other hand, buyers with floating-rate mortgages face steeper costs and may be unable to afford new rates. This could increase housing supply in the market, potentially leading to lower prices.
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