Counterfeit Goods Online May Hurt Consumers’ Health, Study Found


Online shopping may have the benefits of convenience and variety, but consumers should be on alert for counterfeit products that could threaten their health.

Recent research from MarkMonitor, which focuses on brand protection, found that more than a quarter of respondents, or 27 percent, unknowingly bought counterfeit goods online, including makeup, skincare, supplements and medication.

“The threat of counterfeiters is ever present, affecting both brands and consumers. For brands, it’s all about the loss of revenue, reputation and customer trust. However, when it comes to non-genuine consumer goods such as cosmetics, skincare, sun care and medicines, the consequences for shoppers are far greater, affecting their health and well-being,” said Anil Gupta, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor, in a news release.

A further breakdown of the results of the survey, conducted in this May with respondents from the United Kingdom, United States, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, found that:

  • Counterfeit goods were located through online marketplaces at 39 percent, search engines at 34 percent, mobile apps at 22 percent and social ads at 20 percent.
  • Brand websites were most trusted at 89 percent, followed by online marketplaces at 74 percent, online pharmacies at 67 percent and mobile apps at 67 percent.
  • Respondents had little desire to willingly purchase counterfeits. The majority of consumers at 83 percent stated they would not buy non-genuine consumer products, such as makeup, skincare and medicines.

The research was conducted on behalf of MarkMonitor by independent market research firm Vitreous World to examine online buying behavior related to consumer goods, including makeup, toiletries, medicines, vitamins and supplements, purchased outside of supermarket shopping.

Therese Umerlik | Editor