More than 5 million counterfeits were seized by German customs in 2018 – an increase of more than 50 percent compared to 2018. Industry representatives view this as a warning signal and are now calling for stronger actions against counterfeiting.

German customs have seen a dramatic increase in the number of counterfeits seized last year, as the newly published customs report for 2018 now shows. With over 5 million fakes removed from circulation, officials seized around 54 percent more counterfeits than in the year before, when the figure had amounted to approx. 3.3 million.

By contrast, the value of seized goods has remained fairly steady: According to current figures provided by German customs, it increased only slightly to a total of about 196.7 million euros from approx. 196.2 in 2017.

China once again dominated the list of frequent countries of origin for fakes. Apparently, more than two thirds (66.7 percent) of counterfeits seized in 2018 came from the People’s Republic – a significant increase of around 15 percent from 2017. Hong Kong (9.4 percent), Turkey (7.5 percent), and the USA (2 percent) are next in rank.

From an industry perspective, the customs results of 2018 are “another warning signal”, comments Doris Möller, a legal expert for the German industry association DIHK (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag). It has become increasingly difficult for customs authorities to contain the growing number of counterfeits delivered directly to end consumers via postal services, Möller explains.

The German anti-counterfeiting initiative APM (Aktionskreis gegen Produkt- und Markenpiraterie e.V.) is calling for stronger commitments from industry and policy makers to combat counterfeits. “Increased resources for the fight against counterfeiting would be welcome, as customs has taken on several additional responsibilities in recent years,” APM’s chairman said Volker Bartels says. In addition, he is calling for better communications and educational efforts, as well as demanding more accountability of e-commerce platforms.

Sources:, DIHK, APM