Top 5 Most Counterfeited Products in the World

According to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, counterfeiting is a significant problem throughout the world. In just the past two decades, the problem has grown over 10,000 percent thanks to consumer demand. Since 1982, the global trade in illegitimate goods has increased from $5.5 billion to approximately $600 billion annually.

Counterfeiting is quite a big business.

In the US alone, it costs businesses $200 to $250 billion a year and is responsible for more than 750,000 American job losses. Despite these numbers, just a small fraction of the countless illicit goods get detected and confiscated by federal authorities.

The majority of knockoffs are made in China, but Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Taiwan are also included in the top five countries where counterfeits are produced. Confiscated items often include handbags and wallets, apparel, and watches and jewelry. Here are the top 5 most counterfeited products in the world.

No. 1: Leather Goods, Wallets & Handbags

Value: $511 million

Let’s face it, women (and men) love their Louis Vuitton. The versatile handbags represent wealth and social recognition to the masses, a sort of magical connotation. With demand so high for these exclusive chic products, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency targets these items in sting operations, which pushed the retail value up by 142 percent in 2012 compared with 2011.

No. 2: Watches and Jewelry

Value: $187 million

In 2012, roughly $187 million worth of jewelry and watches were seized, up $14 million from 2011. According to CBP figures, 98 percent of items smuggled from Singapore were counterfeit jewelry and watches, worth an estimated $9.2 million.

No. 3: Apparel and Accessories

Value: $133 million

In 2013, in cooperation with government authorities, the NFL announced that a record $13.6 million worth of counterfeit NFL merchandise. In 2012, federal authorities seized about 7,800 accessories and items of clothing. Usually, during big events, such as the Super Bowl, there is a spike in imports of counterfeits. Just before the 2014 Super Bowl, Homeland Security confiscated $21.6 million worth of fake Super Bowl jerseys, hats and other items in a counterfeit goods crackdown. This happens to high-end designer brands as well.

No. 4: iPhones and Consumer Electronics

Value: $104 million

The popularity and high demand for tablets and smartphones has had China working around the clock. Nearly $72 million worth of all confiscated electronic knockoffs came from the sovereign state.

No. 5: Footwear

Value: $103 million

As you read this, you may want to take a moment to look down at the shoes you’re wearing. They’re probably a knockoff, especially if they are higher-end dress shoes like Jimmy Choo’s or a sweet pair of Nike’s. Authorities reported more than 1,900 seizures of designer and athletic shoes last year, worth at least $100 million.

Are you able to spot a fake? Sometimes it’s harder than you think – especially if you simply are viewing it online to purchase over the Internet.

A Few Facts:

  • Counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses $200 billion to $250 billion annually.
  • Counterfeit merchandise is directly responsible for the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs.
  • Approximately 5%-7% of the world trade is in counterfeit goods.
  • U.S. companies suffer $9 billion in trade losses due to international copyright piracy.
  • Counterfeiting poses a threat to global health and safety.
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