According to a new survey by Ipsos Reid, 75 per cent of Canadians claim their strategy is to spend less over the holidays this year due to recent economic conditions. As such, Canadians are looking for ways to stretch their holiday dollars, and are turning to online sites in search for the latest deals.
The survey, commissioned by Microsoft Canada Inc. (online poll of 1,025 Canadians was conducted in November 2010 by Ipsos Reid. The results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20), also revealed that 68 per cent of Canadians believe that deal-seekers may not get what they bargained for with the broad availability of counterfeit goods. With more and more Canadians making online purchases this holiday season, many also admit they are more likely to comparison shop to ensure they are getting the most for their dollar.
The search for the lowest price increases the likelihood of counterfeiters successfully attracting bargain hunters with non-genuine products including toys, clothing, video games, and software, many of which are highly sophisticated and difficult for the average consumer to detect.
Focusing on what it calls the “three Es” — Education, Engineering and Enforcement — Microsoft makes a significant investment each year into educational resources to help consumers protect themselves. This approach also includes the development of new technologies that make counterfeiting software more difficult, and working with governments to enforce laws against software counterfeiters and bring them to justice.
“Consumers need to take extra measures when making purchases this holiday season, especially those made online,” said Chris Tortorice, Corporate Counsel, Anti-Piracy, Microsoft Canada Inc. “Both software piracy and counterfeiting crime span globally, and the only way to stop it is to educate consumers on what to look for to ensure they don’t purchase illegitimate product. Microsoft offers resources like the www.howtotell.com website and the 1-800-RU LEGIT piracy hotline for suspicious consumers that feel the software they purchased may not be genuine.”
Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians recognize that the counterfeit-goods market is a billion-dollar industry worldwide. This scepticism means they are likely to proactively try to recognize the real from the fake. Fortunately, there are also many government and non-government organizations dedicated to arming consumers with both knowledge and advice.
“Today counterfeiters have a global reach through the sale of counterfeit software or other pirated goods on online auction sites, web sites and through spam” said Lorne Lipkus, founding member of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network. “The anonymity afforded by the web allows counterfeiters to operate with little chance of being detected while the risks to consumers are extremely high. However, we are committed to breaking down this billon-dollar underground economy through public and private sector collaboration while also working with companies such as Microsoft Canada who are equally committed to protecting unknowing consumers.”
While Canadians realize that there is a global counterfeit issue, according to the survey findings, eight in ten respondents cannot tell the difference between real and fake, which is why the illegal industry continues to flourish. However, there are steps consumers can take to make sure they are better informed about counterfeit goods:
* Do your research— Take some time to find out what you’re buying and who you’re buying it from. Listen to word of mouth, check references, and get insight from experienced and trusted retailers.
* Compare the price – Everyone loves a good deal, but quality products are sometimes worth the extra cost. The trick when bargain shopping is making sure the sale is reasonable and not alarmingly low, which could be a potential red flag.
* Look for the flaws – Counterfeiters might be good at producing replicas, but there are usually subtle differences in the packaging of the goods, sometime including spelling mistakes and other obvious errors. Pay close attention before you make the purchase.
* Use available resources – If you’re questioning the legitimacy of a Microsoft product visit www.howtotell.com. If you encounter suspicious Microsoft software, you can call the piracy hotline at 1-800-RU-LEGIT.
Additional Survey Findings reveal:
* Fifty-six per cent of those aged 18-34 are considering making online purchases during the holiday season
* Those 55 and older are most concerned with mistakenly purchasing counterfeit goods (57%)
* Middle-aged Canadians are most likely to comparison shop online (70%)
* Seventy-eight per cent of those aged 35-54 are likely to adopt the “spend less on everyone” strategy this year, more so than youth (71%) or senior shoppers (76%)
* Men (25%) are more likely than women (18%) to claim they know how to spot a fake
* Women are more likely to purchase discounted items this holiday season (73%)
* Men (69%) are more likely to comparison shop online compared to women (60%)
* Seventy per cent of Quebecers say Canadians would do anything for a good deal compared to only 49 per cent of Albertans who think the same
* Seventy eight per cent of British Columbians believe Canadian deal-seekers may not get what they bargained for compared to only 60 per cent in Atlantic Canada
* Quebec shoppers are least likely to think they have purchased a fake good (68%) when the deal seems too good to be true, compared to 84 per cent of Ontario shoppers who are sceptical