The Christmas season has officially come to a close, but, as we come out of the hibernation phase that is the holidays, the repercussions of Christmas spending are only now coming to light. Maybe you’re not a “Christmas person” or maybe you’re just the reverse—splurging on gifts for everyone in your inner and outer circle—but no matter your stance on the biggest pagan holiday of the year, the odds are you’ve probably been affected in some way by counterfeiters this holiday season. So, what’s the damage? Though no statistics have been officially tallied and published yet, we can surmise some discomforting information based on what we already knew going into the holiday season.
What do we know?
During the run-up to the year’s most extravagant shopping holiday, Gallup performed a study in which they found that the average US adult was planning on spending roughly $885 USD on Christmas gifts in 2018. Though it’s a slight decrease in holiday spending from 2017, it’s still a significant number, especially when combined with our increasing reliance on online shopping. Disruptive Advertising estimated that American shoppers would spend roughly $119 billion USD through online retailers over the course of the 2018 holiday season. Keep in mind that this number encompasses just one country (though, arguably the most Christmas-obsessed one there is), and focuses specifically on online shopping. Let that sink in.
Now, if we combine this information with what we know about the counterfeit trade—that nearly 20% of all products sold on online platforms are fake—then some quick math suggest that American shoppers have spent roughly $24 billion on counterfeit products this past Christmas. That’s a lot of Calvon Klone purses and Beats by Drew headphones draped in all that wrapping paper. Not to mention all the disappointed recipients of these substandard gifts.
The cost of Christmas
Maybe this sounds familiar to you: you pride yourself on being a great gift giver. Or perhaps this past Christmas was the first time you thought of a really great gift for someone special in your life. You spent a great deal of time thinking about all the people who matter most to you in the world and the items that would light up their faces come Christmas morning. You wanted show them how much you value having them in your life, how much you appreciate them. You scoured the stores in person to find the perfect gift, but alas, they were sold out. So you ventured online and found exactly what you were looking for—and at a great price, too! You placed the order, it arrived, and though it arrived in an encasing that was a little less magical than you anticipated, you wrapped it up and topped it off with a bow, regardless. Then the morning came, and your special someone went to open your beautifully-wrapped gift only to find a poor-quality knock-off of something they would otherwise have really loved. What a major Christmas morning letdown.
That $24 billion USD worth of counterfeit goods may have directly affected you last Christmas. And, unfortunately, it means more than just some wasted money. If you were one of the millions of people who purchased a gift online for a loved one this past Christmas, chances are you may have given them a fake. And nothing says “I love you” like a knock-off gift, right? This is one of the many reasons why being aware of what you’re purchasing, and where you’re purchasing from, matters. You put a lot of time and effort into coming up with the perfect gift for the people you care about, and all of that effort gets waylaid when the online crooks try to make a profit off your good intentions.
On a global scale, the absurd amount of money spent during the holiday season has real repercussions. Not only does the counterfeiting industry support organized crime and substantiate labor factories—two atrocities that can’t be overstated enough—it can also be dangerous for the recipients of these counterfeit gifts. Whether those dangers manifest as mechanical mishaps or physical reactions depends on the gift itself. But the bottom line is, counterfeit gifts are never a good idea.
Making a change
Sadly, consumerism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon—especially in combination with Christmas—which means counterfeiting probably isn’t either. But you do have the power to avoid illegitimate goods, all it takes is knowledge. If you’re one of the millions of gift-getters or gift-givers who was affected by the online offenders this holiday season, we’d like to keep you informed on how you can be better prepared in the future. Whether that’s next Christmas, your mother’s birthday or your best friend’s wedding, make sure you’re buying from a secure, legitimate source. You wouldn’t want to spoil the thought and effort you put into the gift with a less-than-worthy rip-off, would you? If you’d like to stay informed, feel free to read up on all of our most recent counterfeiting blog posts here. And you can let us know if you think you found a fake listing by reporting it here.