Who Buys Counterfeit Luxury Brands?

Conceptual Framework of Counterfeit purchasing: developing vs. developed markets

Martin Eisend from Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Patrick Hartmann, and Vanessa Apaolaza (Institute of Applied Business Economics of the University of the Basque Country) have recently published a study whose objective is to analyze the influence of consumer demographics and psychographics on behaviors with regard to counterfeit luxury brands.

Their study provides a meta-analysis of the demographic and psychographic consumer characteristics that influence attitudes and intentions toward, and behaviors related to, branded counterfeit luxury products. The meta-analysis is based on 98 independent studies published between 1998 and 2016 and conducted in 29 countries; it summarizes previous findings, identifies the relative influence of different demographic and psychographic variables, and assesses whether these influences differ across developed and developing countries. From these findings, the authors suggest profiles of the consumers of counterfeit products in different markets.

Results show that whereas demographics have little impact, some psychographics greatly influence counterfeit purchases, with these influences differing between developed and developing countries. In developing countries, consumers have a promotion motive and are better described by psychographics such as showing off, and self-concept, whereas consumers in developed countries are more risk averse and more prevention oriented. The purchasing process is more elaborate and deliberative in developing countries than in developed countries, where counterfeit purchases are more spontaneous and impulsive.

These findings contribute to the research stream in international marketing that identifies differences in consumer behavior between developed and developing markets. Companies that attempt to combat counterfeiting must be aware of the importance of factors that influence consumers’ engagement with counterfeit products across different countries. Findings show which consumer segments in different cultural contexts should be addressed by these anti-counterfeiting measures to curb the demand for counterfeit products. For example, age can serve as a segmentation and targeting criterion in developed markets, but not in developing markets, where a focus on particular psychographics, such as self-concept, status seeking, and materialism, is more relevant. Because counterfeit incidents are more prevalent in developing markets, it is important to address consumers in these countries. The targeting of materialistic and status-seeking consumers (e.g., through media that target such consumers) is a recommended strategy for combating counterfeit purchases in developing countries with high counterfeiting rates, such as Indonesia or Pakistan. In general, psychographics to avoid a negative identity (e.g., risk aversion, integrity) are stronger determinants in developed countries, while psychographics such as status seeking, materialism, and self-concept, which are related to positive brand signals and a positive consumer identity, are the main drivers of counterfeit consumption in developing countries.

The full article is titled: Who Buys Counterfeit Luxury Brands? A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of Consumers in Developing and Developed Markets” by Martin Eisend, Patrick Hartmann, and Vanessa Apaolaza. Published in the Journal of International Marketing 25(4), August 2017. Link: http://journals.ama.org/doi/abs/10.1509/jim.16.0133?code=amma-site.

Copies of the article for private use can be obtained from the authors



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