Counterfeit Consumer Electronics Continue to Fool Consumers: Canon USA

Counterfeit Consumer Electronics Continue to Fool Consumers: Canon USA


Melville, NY—Canon USA unveiled the results of a 2013 anti-counterfeit study it commissioned on U.S. consumers’ attitudes and perceptions of counterfeit consumer electronics in the U.S. Canon announced: “while counterfeit consumer electronics are a significant concern to U.S. consumers, most seem to be unaware of the full impact and risks of their purchase and use. The study revealed that consumers trust their instincts but seem to lack the understanding of the possible safety risks and the true long-term costs of counterfeit consumer electronics.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security, $145 million worth of counterfeit consumer electronics entered the U.S. in 2013. The research commissioned by Canon reveals that while three out of every four consumers surveyed were concerned about counterfeit consumer electronics, only about one in two believed they could accurately identify counterfeit consumer electronics.

“Most American consumers are unaware of the full risks associated with these potentially dangerous devices. Four in 10 of the U.S. consumers surveyed don’t know counterfeit consumer electronics can harm them, and this lack of awareness leads to what Canon calls a ‘Confidence Trap’,” said Chuck Westfall, technical advisor, Professional Engineering & Solutions, Canon USA, Inc. “Based on the survey, consumers seem overconfident in their ability to spot a fake, and as a result, are at risk of possible harm.”

Other study findings include:
•    In 2013, 12% of the U.S. consumers surveyed knowingly bought fake consumer electronics; 18% percent bought them unknowingly.
•    40% of U.S. consumers surveyed were unaware that counterfeit consumer electronics may harm them.
•    45% believed that counterfeit consumer electronics do the job just as well as genuine consumer electronics.
•    97% wanted more information so they can identify counterfeits.
•    Millennials surveyed were five times more likely than the baby boomers to purchase fake goods.
•    While the majority of millennials (72%) surveyed consider themselves very knowledgeable in identifying a counterfeit consumer electronics product, about one in four continues to unknowingly buy one.

Further, the study revealed, “overconfident in their abilities, a significant proportion of consumers surveyed fell victim to counterfeit purchases, largely unaware that they could be putting themselves at risk of inferior product performance.”

When it comes to purchase drivers, reported Canon, the majority of consumers surveyed overwhelmingly responded they value product performance, quality and safety when buying an electronic good. While 82% cited product performance, 70% said product safety is important to them.

“One of the most significant revelations of this anti-counterfeit study is our obligation to take action and educate consumers about the potential health and safety risks of counterfeit consumer electronics,” added Westfall. “This research indicates that education can largely impact perceptions of counterfeit consumer electronics, and steer consumers away from making uninformed and misguided purchases. After learning about the facts, 71% of the U.S. consumers surveyed said that they were less likely to buy them.”

In May, Canon and the New York City College of Technology (City Tech) hosted a panel discussion about the potential dangers of counterfeit consumer electronics. Event panelists included representatives from Canon USA, City Tech College,, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center and Underwriters Laboratories.