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BW Businessworld

Beating The Counterfeiters

With this increase in our demand and consumption, fake or counterfeit products have also increased by leaps and bounds

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma


Over the past few decades the quantity of products and services have increased manifold. Whether FMCG or electronic goods, we as consumers are spoilt for choices when it comes to our consumption, as many companies and organisations try their level best to give us quality products at affordable prices.

With this increase in our demand and consumption, fake or counterfeit products have also increased by leaps and bounds. Counterfeiting is a $600 billion a year problem and it has grown by over 10,000 per cent in the past two decades, in part fuelled by consumer demand.

Electronics, FMCG, Alcohol and even daily care products are copied and sold in the market on an everyday basis. These goods are comparatively cheap and are easily available, due to the big retail and online model boom that our country is witnessing. How is it bad you ask?

Each manufacturer spends a lot of Research and Development to come up with a product which fulfils our needs and is suitable to us. They make sure every product that reaches us, has certifications from various credited organisations that certify it fit for consumption or usage. Whereas counterfeits or fakes, are just a cheap copy. There is no one to overlook what kind of materials or ingredients are used to manufacture,how is it produced or kept a check on. Needless to say, these products in turn harms our health and can be dangerous.

There are various reports on fake batteries of mobile phones blasting, counterfeit alcohol killing people and consumable goods harming humans.

Not only does counterfeiting affect human health, but also it has huge impacts on the manufacturer and the governments. Illicit markets cause losses to the original right holders in the form of reduced sales, lower profits, brand value, reputation, consumer trusts etc. In turn companies spend less on R&D, they hire less people, use inferior products to cut costs to compete with the underground industry.

Government loses tax, incur higher expenditure on public welfare, insurance and health services, andif incremental costs incurred by government on account of welfare measures, enforcement and legislation and interest costs are also estimated, the losses would be significantly higher. It is estimated that the Indian government incurred a loss of Rs. 39000 crore in 2014 due to the counterfeiting of products and services.

With the parallel industry running in full bloom, we as consumers can take a few precautions and ensure that the products bought are not counterfeits. Some of these steps include:

- Make sure all the information is given on the packaging
- Check for the company's hologram on the product
- The code on the packaging and the product match
- Check the company's website for more information.

There are many anti-counterfeiting solutions available in the market today which can help producers deal with the problem of counterfeiting. Holographic innovation in today's time has achieved another zenith. It is extremely hard to duplicate or fake the 3D image itself, making it exceptionally simpler for the purchasers to perceive the validity of the item. Various types of holograms are available to curb the misuse of the products in various fields. Using such solutions can be extremely helpful to brand in order to maintain their brand identity and deliver the right product in the hands of the consumers. This ultimately leads to the protection of the brand.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Holostik Group retail fmcg column

U.K. Gupta

The author is CMD of Holostik Group

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