Brands are a testament to quality and superiority. Brands are a story of customer experience and value for money. Owning a valued brand is a matter of pride and a starting point for building customer loyalty. It is an arduous task to build brand value and strategize the momentum of a product. It is a promise that a company makes to its customers and thereby earns the right to command a premium.
But at times, despite best intentions, the promise of excellence is broken. Often, counterfeit goods sold to unsuspecting customers tarnishes the brand value the company has been building for decades. Counterfeit products do not just drill a hole in revenue generation but cause a breakdown in customer loyalty. Fake goods are of substandard quality that can be a waste of money for the buyer and dangerous.
The counterfeit market thrives when the demand is high, and buyers are ready to pay the premium for buying the original brand. Thus, as also essential products, luxury brands become a target in the grey market of counterfeit. Similarly, the case of counterfeit or fake sports goods is not new. So, it is not surprising that sports brands have constantly been facing the menace of counterfeit.
Why Counterfeit in Sports?
Imitation may be flattery for most, but not for reputed brands like NIKE, Adidas, Reebok, and others. Over the years, these companies have become the most valued and reliable brands in the world.
Sports is a vast business that ranges from making apparel to equipment. Manufacturing fake sports goods is a thriving business, especially in developing countries. Developing countries have largescale cheap labor, making manufacturing fake sports goods easy. The substandard quality of the products, cheap labor and the premium selling price make counterfeit in sports a lucrative business.
What are the dangers of counterfeit sports goods?
Loss of revenue and jobs for the manufacturers
As of 2012, the market value of sports apparel stood at 135 billion dollars. In the same year, the US sports economy suffered a loss of 13 billion dollars in revenue due to fake sports equipment and merchandise. The loss in revenue has a cascading effect as it causes a loss in taxation to the government.
Additionally, it is estimated that counterfeit sports goods' sale has a direct impact on job loss in the sector. One study showed that every year 2800 jobs are lost because of the sale of counterfeit sports goods. Counterfeit sports goods impact revenues, which in turn lead to job loss.
Customer loyalty and brand value take a hit
Sports gears, gym instruments, and merchandise are an investment in health. Right from steppers to comfortable sportswear, fitness enthusiasts rely on good brands to monitor their health. Reliability and wear and tear determine whether people will pay a premium for a brand. Counterfeit products are of poor quality and thus dupe the customers. A brand is a promise by the company to its regular customers. When spurious goods break that promise, companies lose loyal customers forever.
Substandard products endanger the lives of sportspersons
Counterfeit goods evade standard quality checks and controls. Protective sports equipment like helmets, knee pads, gloves, and more safeguard players from injuries. Players engage in an aggressive game, putting their faith in protective sports gear. Manufacturers use scientific rigor to design sports goods and protective gear. The products go through extreme climate tests to ensure it withstands wear and tear. Counterfeit products do not care about the user experience or safety standards.
A signature, face, or celebrity endorsement can make sports merchandise a luxury product. Fans are ready to pay hefty prices for products endorsed by celebrities. Endorsements create a multifaceted problem for sports goods. On the one hand, celebrity-endorsed sports goods command a higher price in the market. Thus, it is a thriving ground for the counterfeit market. On the other hand, fake products sold by using a celebrity's face can dampen the people's reputation endorsing the product.
Using anti-counterfeit technology to put an end to counterfeit sports goods:
Sports manufacturers today have a plethora of options to check and report counterfeit products. Anti-counterfeit technology like using barcodes, 2D, 3D codes can track and trace products across the supply chain. Also, technology has enabled easy authenticity verification across the supply chain. ACVISS offers a wide range of user-friendly anti-counterfeit technology that can easily integrate with packaging. With the advancement in anti-counterfeit technology, sports manufacturers no longer need to leave their customers' safety and faith to fate.