Of the nearly 30,000 seized shipments last year, 2,818 — or one in every 10 — were footwear products. This is approximately double the level of counterfeit footwear products seized the year before. Major shoe makers have taken steps to combat the rising prevalence of counterfeit footwear. Nike, for example, is a member of several anti-counterfeiting organizations around the world and actively supports intellectual property legislation. Over the years, the company has also added increasing numbers of hidden details to its shoes, which may be part of the company’s fight against counterfeiters as consumers can more readily identify the signature shoes.
2. Consumer electronics
> Percent of total seizures: 18%
> Number of seizures: 5,326
> MSRP of seized goods: $132.5 million
Nearly one in every five counterfeit products are consumer electronics, trailing only clothes as the second most pirated item in the United States. Had these electronics been sold on the U.S. market, they would have been valued at $132.5 million in total, the fourth highest MSRP and comprising 10% of the estimated value of all fake goods.
Many Americans want the latest electronic devices. This desire, Whittenburg noted, likely encourages the purchase and production of counterfeit electronics. Many consumers are also likely the victim of scams. According to a recent study commissioned by camera maker Canon, consumers are more likely than not to buy faked electronics without realizing it.
1. Wearing apparel / accessories
> Percent of total seizures: 22%
> Number of seizures: 6,232
> MSRP of seized goods: $157.2 million
Clothes and other apparel and accessories are again the most faked item in the United States, comprising 22% of all counterfeit products seized by authorities. Expensive designer clothing is associated with prosperity and is highly coveted as a result. It is also largely unaffordable to most Americans. The desire for products that are out of reach for the average pocket is a perfect recipe for a thriving counterfeit market.
More than 80% of fake clothing products come from China, largely due to the sheer volume of trade coming from the country. According to a recent investigation by Buzzfeed News, numerous clothing stores have been accused of baiting Facebook users with photos of high-end clothing and selling them imitations. The investigation found that at least eight of these clothing dealers have been linked with ShenZhen Global Egrow E-Commerce Co., a publicly traded Chinese company.