Counterfeit Goods

Information and statistics about counterfeiting and the sale of counterfeit goods. Estimated losses from counterfeits, markets where fake goods are sold, and other piracy statistics are collected from criminal justice programs and public information sources.

According to a study by the Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection Program at Michigan State University, the following food items were found to have been counterfeited.

The study analyzed its product database of counterfeit items, and found that 16 percent of counterfeit foods involved olive oil, 14 percent involved watered down milk, 7 percent was counterfeit honey, and 2 to 4 percent of the counterfeit items were fruit juices.

Worldwide, counterfeit foods create a $49 Billion market.

Source:  “Fake Food Trying To Make Its Way Into The U.S.,” CBS Miami, June 18, 2012.

99 percent of digital music downloaded in China is pirated, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

As of 2012, China has nearly twice as many Internet users as the United States, yet its digital music revenue per user is about 1 percent of the United States.

Source:  AFP, “Asia’s digital divide poses challenge for music industry,” Google News, June 21, 2012.

During the months of January 2012 to May 2012, authorities in Dubai confiscated 30,000 counterfeit auto parts in the country.

According to a study by the Brand Owners Protection Group, counterfeit auto parts account for almost 70 percent of all fake goods in the United Arab Emirates.

The counterfeit goods market in the United Arab Emirates is estimated to be worth $755 Million.

Source:  Nadeen El Ajou, “First half of 2012 sees 30,000 counterfeit automotive parts seized in Dubai,” AMEinfo, June 19, 2012.

Japanese Custom officials reported that there were 23,280 cases of counterfeit goods seizures in the country in 2011. The number of cases was the second-highest number of cases, following the 26,145 cases in 2008.

The cases in 2011 led to a total of 728,234 counterfeit items being seized from entering Japan. 94 percent of fake goods were seized while being transported by air mail.  The top counterfeit products seized during the year was purses and wallets, followed by clothes and shoes.

91.2 percent of the counterfeit goods originated from China. Back in 2006, China only accounted for 48.2 percent of seizure cases.

Counterfeit goods in Japan is estimated to cause at least $75 Billion in losses.

Source:  Hiroko Nakata, “Net shopping means unending flow of counterfeit brand-name goods,” Japan Times, June 19, 2012.

According to the CEO of luxury fashion company Hermes, up to 80 percent of the products sold on the Internet with the brand name Hermes is counterfeit.

The counterfeit purse market is estimated to be worth $70 Million.

Source:  Olivia Bergin, “Hermès employees found to be in on counterfeit ring,” Telegraph, Fashion, June 18, 2012.


An estimated 50,000 fake PhD degrees are sold each year by diploma mills. By comparison, between 40,000 to 45,000 PhD degrees are awarded by accredited schools in the United States each year.

(Additional information about fake graduate degrees sold online.)

Source:  Allen Ezell and John Bear, “Does Your Doctor Have a Fake Degree? The Billion-Dollar Industry That Has Sold Over a Million Fake Diplomas,” AlertNet, June 13, 2012.

In 2011, movie piracy in Germany created losses of $200 Million to the film industry. Users in Germany illegally downloaded or viewed unauthorized steams of movies on 185 million occasions.

In the same year, the music industry in Germany lost $660 Million to pirated music.

The total losses of counterfeit goods in Germany is estimated to cause losses of up to $32 Billion a year.

Source: Scott Roxborough, “Study: Cost of German Music Piracy at $660 Million,” Hollywood Reporter, June 12, 2012.

In a city wide sweep of 1,700 stores licensed to sell cigarettes, New York City officials found that 42 percent of stores were either selling untaxed cigarettes or packs of cigarettes with counterfeit tax stamps on them.

The tax rate for cigarettes in New York City at the time of the enforcement actions was $5.85. Customers buying a pack of cigarettes in stores are expected to pay over $10. If they purchase the pack illegally on the black market, they normally pay around $5 per pack.

Back in 2009, up to $150 Million in cigarette tax revenue was estimated to have been lost to the NYC government due to the illegal tobacco trade.

Source:  David Seifman, “NYC probe finds massive number of illegal, untaxed cigs,” New York Post, June 8, 2012.

64 percent of counterfeit electronics sold to consumers in the United States takes place in legitimate retail stores, according to Gallop consulting and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Worldwide, counterfeit electronics chips and semiconductors creates a loss of $169 Billion to the electronic industry.

(Latest counterfeiting statistics.)

Source:  Jayne O’Donnell, “Counterfeit products are a growing, and dangerous, problem,” USA Today, June 5, 2012.

During a ten year span of 2002 to 2012, the United States Customs seized 325 percent more counterfeit goods than the previous ten year period.

In Fiscal Year 2011, Customs agents seized 24 percent more fake goods than the previous fiscal year.A big driver of the seizures was counterfeit drugs, which increased by 200 percent from the previous year.

Source:  Jayne O’Donnell, “Counterfeit products are a growing, and dangerous, problem,” USA Today, June 5, 2012.