Research commissioned by brand protection software provider Incopro looking at “Fake Britain” has found that UK consumers are more trusting of Amazon over rival online marketplaces, despite the company openly admitting it has a problem with counterfeit goods. Just 42% of UK consumers said they would be likely to research products listed on Amazon before purchasing them, compared to 54% of consumers who would run background research on items listed on eBay. The research shows an equal distrust in online marketplaces Wish (53%) and Gumtree (52%), where over half revealed they would research products on the sites before purchasing them. Other less trusted platforms include Alibaba (51%), Etsy (48%), and Groupon (46%).

In February 2019, Amazon admitted to investors for the first time it had a problem with counterfeits on its website. Under the risk factors of its annual finance report, Amazon said: “We also may be unable to prevent sellers in our stores or through other stores from selling unlawful, counterfeit, pirated, or stolen goods, selling goods in an unlawful or unethical manner, violating the proprietary rights of others, or otherwise violating our policies”.

The Incopro report also highlights the lack of consumer knowledge on the problem, as 45% said they would only buy from trusted marketplaces that included Amazon and eBay to help reduce the number of counterfeits they purchased. Just a quarter (26%) said they would compare products against others found on marketplace or search engine results.

Piers Barclay, Chief Strategy Officer at Incopro said, “What this shows me is that brand trust is everything. The likes of Amazon and eBay make it seem they can be trusted, but behind the scenes there are major problems at hand which aren’t being addressed effectively enough despite the initiatives the platforms have announced. Consumers are continuing to unknowingly purchase fake goods on these platforms, some of which can be dangerous to their health. Marketplaces need to take more responsibility and take action against counterfeiters on their website or risk consumers going elsewhere when the trust is lost”.

Nathalie Nahai, Web Psychologist and award-winning speaker on consumer buying habits, commented, “One of the pitfalls of a deceptive marketplace (in which fake goods are abundant) is the erosion of trust that occurs between a brand and its customers when people unintentionally buy a fake product. Cited as one of the most important ingredients for the development and maintenance of happy, well-functioning relationships, trust also plays a key role in the long-term satisfaction and loyalty of customers”.

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