Study: 57% of ‘Gen Z’ believe that it is better to support local counterfeiters rather than big companies

A recently released study from a leading IP organization has found that persons born in Generation Z, the group immediately following Millennials, are conflicted when it comes to understanding the dangers associated with fakes and purchasing them.

Gen Zers know there is a difference but tend to act more on basis of cost and personal finances than ethics. 57% believe their money is better off benefiting the local counterfeit seller than big conglomerates. The respondents were drawn from a range of developed nations.

While some of the findings are alarming, INTA president David Lossignol suggests the findings are an opportunity for brands to frame the narrative and turn negative perceptions of IP around.

Cost Over Ethics

One of the key findings of the INTA report was that, despite Gen Z being a “morally attuned group,” financial pressures take precedence over ethical decisions when members make purchasing decisions.

Under half (48%) of respondents “don’t think it’s okay or think it’s totally not okay” to purchase fakes. And while 85% of respondents to the study believe brands should aim to do good in the world, income was the greatest influence on purchasing decisions for 47%, while morals was only for 37%.

Digital Natives 

The findings of Gen Z Insights: Brands and Counterfeit Products, were published on May 16 by the International Trademark Association (INTA). The study explores the relationship Gen Zers have with brands and counterfeit products across ten key countries: Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States.

Gen Z is the demographic group born between 1995 and 2010—immediately following millennials. As digital natives, who came were born during the Digital Age, members of this group have been engaging with computers, the Internet, and other technologies since early childhood.

The study focused on individuals ages 18-23, from a diverse range of economic backgrounds. Its scope of inquiry covered Gen Zers’ interactions with brands, attitudes and perceptions of counterfeit products, and factors influencing their purchase of fake goods.

Another finding of concern relates to the relationship of Gen Z to the concept of brand. Across the ten countries surveyed, only 62% said brand name is ‘somewhat important’ or ‘very important’ to them. Brand name was least important in Russia, Italy, Japan, and the US, while being more important in India, China, and Indonesia.

Opportunity to Educate

“It’s incumbent on all of us to jump on that opportunity [to openness] through education. We need to drive home the message that not only are counterfeit products dangerous, they are also socially unacceptable” said INTA’s Lossignol.

Gen Zers have a strong respect for the value of people’s ideas and creations and 74% say they believe it is important to buy genuine products. The report found that 85% of the respondents had at heard of intellectual property rights and 93% have “a lot of respect” for peoples’ ideas and creations.

For the full study, go here

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