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A survey carried out by online brand protection specialist, MarkMonitor®, has revealed the startling impact that online counterfeiting is having on the sales of genuine brands.

More than 200 business executives, including representatives from many global brands, took part in the survey last month to give their views on the issues and challenges of operating online in today’s ever-changing digital world.

More than a third (39%) actually stated that a significant 11-50% of counterfeits substitute for sales of their branded goods. When asked to what extent they thought that online counterfeits substitute for sales of their genuine products online, only 14% of the participants said there was no impact.

Interestingly, despite the potential financial implications of online counterfeiting, far more executives said the damage to brand reputation (55%) was of higher importance than losing sales to counterfeited or pirated goods (33%).

The survey also revealed that the majority of businesses feel it is vital to protect their brand from online counterfeiting across all of the major Internet platforms – from marketplaces and websites to the growing number of social media sites. 59% of participants said it was important to protect their brands from counterfeiting on all e-commerce channels, with the highest response (24%) saying websites is the main area.

Attendees at the symposium were also asked to give their opinions on other key challenges facing brands and trademarks in the online space/41% felt that future trends such as 3D printing would impact their brand and associated trademarks. The streaming of online content (33%) was cited as the most significant Internet related IP trend facing companies today closely followed by e-commerce (30%).

Simon Whitehouse, Senior Director, EMEA, MarkMonitor said: “The overall results highlight many of the challenges facing brands online and how critical it is to protect a company’s reputation across the entire Internet landscape. Damage to the reputation can have a massive impact on long term customer confidence, which in itself may lead to an even greater loss in sales.”

“This survey underlines the importance that in today’s rapidly expanding digital world, with the growing incidences of brand abuse, it is more important than ever to adopt the most robust and reliable brand protection strategy.”

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