Europe: Young people are buying more counterfeit products, but less resorting to piracy

Deepak Gupta June 8, 2022
Updated 2022/06/08 at 9:53 PM

Piracy and counterfeiting continue to be big money businesses and seriously harm some industries. In a recent study, released by the European Union Intellectual Property Institute (EUIPO), an analysis is made of the profile of young Europeans regarding their behavior in the face of intellectual property infringement in a post-pandemic context.

Young Europeans buy more counterfeit products and continue to access pirated content.

The 2022 edition of the Intellectual Property and Youth Scoreboard, released today by Intellectual Property Institute of the European Union (EUIPO), provides an update on young people's behavior in the face of intellectual property infringement in a post-pandemic context.

The 2022 quantitative analysis was carried out among a total of 22,021 young people aged between 15 and 24 in the 27 EU Member States between 7 and 28 February 2022.

The survey looks at both sides of intellectual property infringement: trends in young people buying counterfeit goods and access to pirated content, looking at trends since 2016.

According to the report, 52% of young people surveyed had purchased at least one fake product online during the past year, either intentionally or accidentally, and 33% had accessed illegal content.

Purchase of counterfeit products

Reflecting the post-pandemic context, the new survey confirmed that 37% of young people intentionally purchased one or more counterfeit products, which is a significant increase from the previous results of 14% in 2019. The number varies considerably by country. , with the highest percentage recorded in Greece at 62% and the lowest in the Czech Republic at 24%.

In Portugal, the number is 34%, slightly below average, with clothing and electronic devices at the top of the choices.

Looking at the total of respondents, the counterfeit products that young people intentionally buy are clothes and accessories (17%), followed by footwear (14%), electronic devices (13%), and hygiene, cosmetics, personal care and perfumes (12%). %).

However, young people are also induced to buy counterfeit products: the unintentional purchase of counterfeit products is also at 37% and respondents recognized difficulties in distinguishing genuine products from counterfeits. 48% of respondents had not purchased such products or were not sure they had.

Internet piracy

With regard to digital content, access from legal sources is gaining ground among younger generations. 60% said they had not used, reproduced, downloaded or streamed content from illegal sources in the past year, compared to 51% in 2019, and 40% in 2016, thus confirming the trend.

However, intentional piracy remains stable, with 21% of young consumers admitting to knowingly accessing pirated content in the last 12 months. A significant proportion of young people were tricked into accessing pirated content. 12% accessed pirated content accidentally and 7% did not know if they did. The main type of pirated content was movies with 61% and TV series with 52%, followed by music with 36%, mainly using dedicated websites, applications and social networking platforms.

In Portugal, 17% of respondents reported having intentionally accessed pirated content, where films and series are clearly at the top with 73% and 72%, respectively.

In light of these new results, EUIPO Executive Director Christian Archambeau said:

This third edition of the IP and Youth Scoreboard, published during the European Year of Youth, confirms the trends identified in previous editions and offers a richer insight into young people's perceptions and attitudes. At a time when e-commerce and digital consumption have been growing significantly, the increase in the intentional and unintentional purchase of counterfeit goods is a worrying trend. As for piracy, it has not diminished, even if young consumers increasingly prefer content from legal sources. This new analysis provides a valuable tool to help stakeholders, policy makers, educators and civil society organizations create awareness-raising initiatives to support the informed choices of our young citizens and consumers.

Main factors that lead to the purchase of fakes and access to pirated content

While price and availability remain the main reasons for buying counterfeit products and intentionally accessing pirated content, social influences such as the behavior of family, friends or people they know are gaining significant ground.

Other factors include not caring if the product is a fake (or if the source of the content is illegal), not noticing any difference between genuine and counterfeit products, and the ease of finding or ordering counterfeit products online. One in 10 respondents mentioned recommendations from influencers or famous people.

What makes young people think twice?

In the case of both products and digital content, young people mentioned the personal risks of cyber fraud and cyber threats as important factors that would affect their behavior.

In addition, issues such as a better understanding of the negative impact on the environment or society are now more widely mentioned by the young people surveyed.

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