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The French cosmetics industry is the most affected by counterfeiting

Based on data from 2018 to 2021, a study by Euipo (European Union Intellectual Property Office) indicates that sales of genuine cosmetics have recorded annual losses of €3 billion.

Euipo looked at three sectors of activity: toys, clothing/shoes and cosmetics, in Europe. Of the three sectors studied, the cosmetics sector suffered the least from counterfeiting, with losses suffered by manufacturers of genuine cosmetics amounting to just under 5 % of total sales in the European Union. The French cosmetics industry, however, is the hardest hit in absolute terms, with annual sales losses of 800 million euros.

Beyond monetary losses

According to the report, Germany, the EU's largest consumer market, is losing almost 40,000 jobs in the three sectors studied. Other major countries experiencing job losses include Italy (24,000), Poland (18,000), Spain (15,000) and France (over 14,000). 

In addition to monetary losses and the impact on the job market, the report states that counterfeiting can present significant risks to consumer health and safety when it comes to toys and cosmetics. These potentially dangerous products account for 15 % of counterfeit items seized at the EU's external borders, according to an IP crime threat assessment carried out by Euipo in 2022.

European consumers' awareness and perception of counterfeit products is a key factor. According to Euipo's Intellectual Property (IP) Perception Survey of June 2023, a third of Europeans believe it is acceptable to buy counterfeits if the price of the genuine product is too high. This proportion rises to half among young people. The study takes into account the proportion of people who admit to having bought counterfeit products, whether by mistake or intentionally, in each country. In addition, the study shows that IP-related crime has links with other serious forms of crime.

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