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Secret Scrooges: Holiday Shoppers, Beware Rogue Online Retailers

November 20, 2012

Secret Scrooges: Holiday Shoppers, Beware Rogue Online Retailers
Source: Nielsen

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, the U.S. holiday shopping season is set to officially kick off in just a few days and many consumers will be looking online to find the best deals for gifts on their shopping lists. But the hunt for holiday shopping deals can have a “bah humbug” side: about one in five bargain-hunting, online shoppers in the U.S. and Europe has mistakenly shopped counterfeit goods online. Nielsen collaborated with MarkMonitor– an online brand protection company–on their new MarkMonitor Shopping Report, released today, and found that many consumers shopping for knock-offs may only be looking for the best deals on legitimate products.

An analysis of anonymized panelists’ search terms and referral traffic to rogue websites shows that for every shopper searching for counterfeit goods on the web, 20 more were merely bargain hunters looking up the best deals, using terms like “discount” and “clearance.” As consumers surf for bargains, counterfeit goods sold at steep discounts may not be as easily distinguishable from end-of-season sales across the web. And if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many websites selling counterfeit goods can look legitimate – even using official product images.

In fact, consumers visiting sites that sell counterfeit goods are demographically similar to those visiting trusted online retailers, further demonstrating that consumers may not be able to distinguish between legitimate and black-market, online retailers. An anonymized demographic analysis of Nielsen’s permissioned panel showed that online shoppers who browse rogue sites are nearly identical to visitors to more mainstream retailers.

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