Money is hard earned. And where you put it has to be genuine. We tell you about the 5 most copied luxury brands, and how to recognise the fakes doing rounds on e-commerce portals and small shops
By: Abhay Gupta, CEO, Luxury Connect
Posted on: April 23, 2015
Consumers are brand conscious but are faking it. According to Anil Rajput, chairman of FICCI Cascade, an industry body created to generate awareness regarding counterfeit, contraband and smuggled products, there are people who buy fake brands knowingly because they desire to own these products but can't afford them.
Then, there is another section that is hoodwinked by the traders.
Research shows that 5 popular brands that are replicated the most are:
Numbers to awe
ASSOCHAM recently reported the size of the fake luxury products market in India at Rs 2,500-3,000 crore. That is 5-6 per cent of the overall luxury products market in the country, which is worth Rs 49,000 crore. Further, fake products account for 7 per cent of the global luxury products industry worth Rs 19,69,920 crore.
The market for fake goods is driven largely by web shopping portals that account for over 25 per cent of the overall market for fake luxury products in India, says the report. While e-commerce websites are hailed for the range and discounts they offer, the medium has come under scrutiny for encouraging sales of counterfeit products.
If you are seeing 70 per cent off online on your favourite Louis Vuitton or Gucci bag, trust your instincts and understand that it’s too good to be true. Chances are it is a remarkable achievement by a small Chinese vendor and is a perfect fake. “Over 80% of the entire imitation luxury products in India come from China,” D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM, said in a statement.
Online counterfeit sellers have an obvious advantage that the customer is unable to touch and see the product and only receives his or her purchase after the full payment has been received. Therefore, it’s easy to fool the customer making an online purchase.
That's not all - one can find luxury brands even in product categories not manufactured by the original brands. One such example is Harley Davidson deodorants.
This unprecedented demand for high-end branded items has actually resulted in a simultaneous increase in the fake luxury segment in astounding numbers. The market of fake luxury goods in India is likely to touch INR 6,000 crore in 2016.
This is definitely bad news for the Indian luxury market as well as the online retail space. Even before there is a robust and sizable luxury market in this country, its parallel and fake counterpart has shown its face.
Thus, there is an urgent need to educate customers on brand heritage and create awareness about original products. According to the ASSOCHAM report, certification of authenticity and quality of products by luxury goods makers, digital serialisation/authentication, multi-channel protection and inclusion of appropriate technologies in product labeling are steps that can be followed by luxury goods manufacturers to combat counterfeits.
The downside of this trend is that people who aspire to own brands, and even those who can afford the real deal, are opting for fake options. This coupled with the latest e-commerce boom is a sheer recipe for disaster. Each day there is yet another new online fashion destination that claims to stock top brands in fashion and accessories.
Under the magnifying glass
According to Economic Times, the most popular counterfeited products sold widely in India are:
1. Louis Vuitton (bags)
2. Gucci (bags and belts)
3. Bvlgari diamonds
5. Prada (dresses)
Although it might not appear so, but it’s quite easy to catch fakes if you know what you are looking for. Here’s a ‘cheat sheet’ on how to spot the differences for some brands.
1. Authentic Gucci belts will have:
→ “GUCCI” printed in all capital letters.
→ Serial number stamped on the leather of the belt
→ Two symmetrical “Gs” facing each other
2. If the belt buckle is lightweight, it may indicate a knockoff
3. Examine the tags and belt for misspellings
4. Type the serial number onto the Gucci website to determine its authenticity.
1. Burberry rat-tail letter R
2. The tag BURBERRY should be all in capital letters
3. Also make sure the tag spells out LONDON below the BURBERRY imprint
4. Classic Burberry Nova check lines are lined up in perfect horizontals
1. Wider strap vs. narrow strap
2. Big stitching vs. fine stitching
3. Rounded rings vs. LV signature 'D' rings
4. 'V' stitches vs. LV signature 5 stitches
5. Right over left vs. left over right fold-over
In order to identify a fake watch you need to know what it feels like, looks like, how much it weighs and what it sounds like. Identify the following factors:
1. Material, finishing and color of counterfeit watch will be slightly off
2. Counterfeit watches are usually lighter than original.
3. Counterfeit watches have spelling errors, type faces can differ in size and shape too
4. Fine watches have smooth mechanisms. If the watch ticks loudly, don’t buy it.
5. Locate a certificate of authenticity
1. The distinct MK letters are very close together and any engraving will be neat and clean.
2. Hardware will be made of solid metal. Some pieces will be engraved with a high quality finish
3. A Micheal Kors logo will appear inside on the lining. Check the font, spacing and positioning of the logo
Abhay Gupta is the founder, promoter and CEO of Luxury Connect (a boutique consulting organization) and Luxury Connect Business School (LCBS). He has helped establish luxury brands like Versace, Versace Home, Versace Collection, Corneliani, Arredo Classic, etc in India. Luxury publication Blackbook recently recognized him as one of the ‘Top 100 Indian Luxury’s Most Influential 2013 & 2014’. He is also a recipient of the ‘Luxury Retail Icon 2012’ title by Asia Retail Congress. Having being featured in Forbes Luxury Trend Report 2012 as one of the industry leaders, he has also been widely recognized as a luxury expert by many media organisations. Fondazione Altagama has also recognized his contribution to the growth of Italian luxury industry by his pioneering efforts in India. Follow him on Twitter at @abhaygupta36