The survey “European Citizens and intellectual property: perception, awareness, and behavior” shows that half of the young consumers think it is acceptable to buy counterfeits if the price of the original product is too high.

June 19, 2023


Author: Boyana Boyadzhieva

A new study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) tracks the extent to which intellectual property rights are respected through a series of interviews conducted with a total of 25 824 residents over the age of 15 living in all EU Member States.

The data shows that while Europeans are becoming increasingly wary of counterfeits and illegal content, the price remains a crucial factor as young consumers are more likely to think it is acceptable to buy fake products.

We highlight some of the important findings from the study:

1. Intellectual property – awareness and opinions:

– 83% of Europeans say they have a fairly good or very good understanding of the concept of intellectual property, but the percentages vary considerably from country to country.

– 93% of interviewees agree that it is important for inventors, publishers, creators, and performers to be able to protect their rights and be paid for their work.

– 91% of interviewees believe that respect for intellectual property is important to prevent others from wrongfully claiming to be the creators or inventors of work and that it contributes to the quality of products and services.

2. Counterfeit goods – behavior and consumption factors:

– 80% of Europeans agree that counterfeiting supports criminal organizations and ruins businesses and jobs, with 83% believing it supports unethical behavior.

– Respectively 66% and 62% of interviewees believe that counterfeiting poses a threat to health, safety, and the environment.

– A third of Europeans think it is acceptable to buy fakes if the price of the original product is too high. Among young people, this figure rises to half.

– 39% of Europeans have asked themselves whether something they have bought is a genuine product or a fake.

– 13% of Europeans report having deliberately bought fakes in the last 12 months. This figure rises to 26% among 15 to 24-year-olds.

The survey from the EUIPO identifies the reasons for stopping counterfeit goods:

– the most frequently cited reason for stopping buying counterfeit goods (43%) is better affordability of genuine goods;

– 25% of interviewees identified greater supply and/or better quality (25%) as a reason for not buying counterfeit goods;

– 25% of interviewees identified greater supply and/or better quality (25%) as a reason for not buying counterfeit goods;

– risks of bad experiences with counterfeits, such as poor product quality (27%), safety or health risks (25%), or risk of fines or penalties (21%), are also relatively common factors for stopping the purchase of such products.

3. Pirated content online – Behaviour and consumption factors:

– 80% say they prefer to use legal sources to access online content if the option is available.

– More than 4 in 10 Europeans (43%) have paid to access, download or stream copyrighted content from a legal service in the last year.

– A large majority of people (65%) think it is acceptable to pirate when the content is not available within their subscription.

– 14% of Europeans admit to having deliberately accessed content through illegal sources in the last 12 months (33% of young people aged 15-24).

– 82% of Europeans agree that accessing digital content through illegal sources poses a risk of harmful practices (fraud or inappropriate content for minors).

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