Toys, clothing, cosmetics – counterfeits cost industries billions of euros

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An alarming study by the EUIPO suggests that counterfeiting costs the clothing, cosmetics, and toy industries alone around approx. 16 billion euros a year. German manufacturers of clothing and toys are particularly affected.

Counterfeiting costs manufacturers in the clothing, cosmetics, and toy industries a total of around 16 billion euros every year, and 200,000 jobs are lost. These alarming results come from a study published in January by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). According to the study, the clothing industry suffers the greatest losses (around 12 billion euros), followed by the cosmetics industry (around three billion euros) and the toy industry (around one billion euros).

//“Counterfeit goods have real costs – for consumers, for brands and for our economies. This latest study shows the very real costs when it comes to lost revenue and jobs in the EU.”

João Negrão, Executive Director, EUIPO

The biggest losses are incurred every year in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. The clothing industry in Germany alone suffers annual losses of around three billion euros – almost as much as the cosmetics industry in all of Europe. In France and Italy, fashion counterfeiting costs the industry around two billion euros, and in Spain around one billion euros.

The German toy industry also is in an unfortunate first place. According to the EUIPO report, this sector loses around 300 million euros in turnover in Germany every year, accounting for almost a third of the entire EU’s loss of turnover in this industry. Moreover, this puts Germany well ahead of France (around 175 million euros), Italy (around 120 million euros) and Spain (around 110 million euros). In the toy industry, counterfeit products account for an alarming 8.7% of turnover, making it the sector most affected by counterfeiting in terms of share among the three industries surveyed.

The cosmetics industry, in contrast, is hit hardest in France, says the EUIPO. It loses around 800 million euros in annual turnover there, while the loss in Germany is around 700 million euros.


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What’s more, counterfeiting costs around 200,000 jobs per year in the three industries, as shown by the EUIPO report. The clothing industry also suffers the highest losses here, with around 160,000 jobs lost in the EU, followed by the cosmetics industry with around 30,000 jobs and the toy industry with around 3,000 jobs. Across the three industries, the highest number of jobs overall is lost in Germany (around 40,000), Italy (around 24,000), and Poland (around 18,000). Germany alone accounts for around 20% of the jobs lost to counterfeiting in the three industries in the EU.

The EUIPO considers consumer awareness of counterfeit goods to be an important factor in the spread of counterfeits. In the summer of 2023, the office published a study on this topic, which suggested that around a third of respondents in Europe found buying counterfeits acceptable if the price of the original was too high.

Source: EUIPO

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