Counterfeited goods are the single biggest threat to the fashion industry. Stealing sales and diluting brand reputations, the global fake goods market is worth over $450 billion. In Europe, the clothing, footwear and accessories industries lose approximately €26.3 billion (roughly $27.7 billion) in revenue annually from counterfeit goods, according to EU statistics.
Real Deal vs. Real Steal
The fashion industry’s counterfeit and pirated goods dilemma isn’t just a growing concern for brands. Beyond worrying that they’re purchasing non-genuine, lower quality items, consumers are wary that, as the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau warns, they’re “helping the trader to break the law” and contributing to job losses “because genuine manufacturers are unable to match prices charged by rogue traders,” depriving them of profit.
Fake fashion can also contribute to other, far more dangerous crimes. In the UK, for example, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group claims intellectual property misconduct is funding crimes that include the smuggling of drugs, guns and people. Over the course of six days in December 2016, the trade body worked with Border Force, a law enforcement agency within the UK Home Office, to uncover more than 83,000 counterfeit items at airports, which collectively were worth a total street value of £3.5 million ($4.3 million).
A Smart Solution
The good news is this serious challenge can be tackled with an Internet of Things-enabled product authenticity solution. Using the EVRYTHNG Smart Products Platform to capture and manage data from digital identities embedded within #BornDigital products, brands can efficiently solve brand protection challenges on an industrial scale.
This smarter product authenticity solution lets inspection teams directly authenticate products, as well as reuse the real-time data created by the consumer-product interactions to effectively “crowdsource” brand protection, allowing consumers to check if their designer bag is legitimate (and letting the brand know if it’s not). In practice, consumers can simply scan a digital trigger on the bag’s label or tag with their smartphone to authenticate the product, as that same interaction data also relays real-time information about the location, time and usage of this uniquely identified, serialized product back to the brand.
By helping to detect product tampering, counterfeiting and parallel trading, smart products can help solve the problem of fake fashion, with brands being able to crack down on fakes, while consumers being able to get assurance that what they’re buying is the real deal.