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Luxury perfumes, the new counterfeit oasis

July 21, 2014 • Beauty

The Global Anti-Counterfeit day organised by the Union of Manufacturers (Unifab) recent published an analysis concerning the counterfeit market. The exponential growth of this sector through beauty products and luxury perfumes is visible and worries manufacturers as this tendency could have important repercussions on the luxury goods’ economy and but also on consumers’ health.


Luxury counterfeits still growing

In 2013, 13% of consumers estimated they bought counterfeit hygiene products and cosmetics. According to Christian Peugeot, this practice concerns mostly men under 35 and is increasingly present.

During Unifab’s conference last June, beauty company Fabea’s spoke-person revealed that counterfeits represent nowadays 10% of the perfume sector and high-end body products. Hence, 170 000 body products have been seized by the French customs officers in 2013, all from China (44%) but also from Russia and Italy.

The regular change routes have been a major problem for customs officers over the years. Today, the counterfeit hubs in Europe are mostly in Poland and Dubaï, but they can change at any moment. The distribution routes are also numerous, and whilst fake products can easily be identified on market stalls and if sold via street hawkers, it is much more difficult to detect them on the internet. Due to the lack of laws and controls, the media does not limit the number of counterfeits especially on auction sites.

The authorities’ anti-counterfeit absence of action can be felt, however, the quality of counterfeit products available is the most worrying aspect.



Cosmetics counterfeit, a reel danger for consumers

Considering the latest trends, Fabea and Unifab’s first preoccupation is directed at the sanitary dangers of the counterfeit market. Sensitive subject, the risks to our health is nonetheless present, often neglected by buyers focused on the savings they are making.

Despite the increase in the number of infringers’ these last few years, toxic components and heavy metals remain present in most counterfeit beauty products. The verification procedures not be being applied correctly, it is often impossible for the buyer to know with certainty what are the products components. This lack of transparency towards copies represents a major risk for their users, going from allergic reactions to serious contaminations.

Anti-counterfeit activists remind consumers how to detect fake beauty products, mostly by looking at its packaging and where it is sold. Prices may also alert a future buyer of the product’s quality – definition the lower the price, the lower the quality. However, this last point could be deceiving as most infringers deliberately increase their prices to cheat buyers.


Luxury good enthusiasts should keep in mind that the copies are only an illusion of reality, allowing sellers to save money on the manufacture of their products at the buyer’s expense.

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