Research has shown time and time again that counterfeit goods coming to the UK from other countries, including the Far East, have a massive impact on the economy. Now, when unemployment levels are higher than normal, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are questioning whether counterfeit goods coming from the Far East impact unemployment rates specifically.

Counterfeit products are cheaper than their genuine counterparts, and so, many people see no problem with buying them to save themselves some money.

Estimates report that imports of counterfeit and pirated goods to the UK in 2016 accounted for as much as £13.6 billion. The most popular counterfeit products brought in are electrical products, clothing, footwear, leather goods, handbags, toys and games [source].

Counterfeit products coming into the UK have the effect of crowding out legitimate economic activity, which will, in turn, affect employment rates. Less demand for genuine products will affect demand for production, and less production equals fewer employees

Suppose products that are usually designed, manufactured and sold in the UK arrive here as counterfeits from the Far East. If there’s less demand for genuine products, production will either lessen or stop altogether, and the people involved in this process will be made redundant.

Less demand also indirectly affects those paid to test the goods, those tasked with packaging and shipping them and those involved in transporting the goods around the country. Many people are involved in creating, selling, and delivering every product produced in the UK and are all impacted when consumers purchase counterfeit items from abroad.

There are many other disadvantages of counterfeit products beyond raising unemployment rates. These disadvantages include loss of sales revenue and profit margins as counterfeits undercut genuine products’ prices, overproduction costs of genuine products, fraudulent warranty claims, product liability claims and damage to authentic brands’ and products’ reputations. Another massive disadvantage of trade in counterfeit and pirated products is that it allows illegal activity to thrive, which often involves criminal networks.

Pirated and counterfeit products can also be a massive safety risk. For example, electronic products imported from abroad may not have gone through rigorous testing to ensure they perform correctly and may not adhere to safety standards here in the UK. Lack of testing could lead to items overheating and becoming a fire risk, and much more.

Toys imported illegally won’t have gone through the same testing processes to ensure safety for children using them and can be a risk to life.

Ensure you don’t play a part in supporting criminal activity by never purchasing counterfeit goods. Support the UK economy and UK jobs by buying genuine products, especially those made in the UK.