Luxury aspirations, limited budget

Luxury aspirations, limited budget: How does Generation Z cope with consumer ethics?

The market for counterfeit luxury products is growing rapidly, primarily attracting younger customers. Research conducted by “Business of Fashion” shows that young consumers, mostly representing Generation Z, see nothing wrong with buying counterfeit products. According to them, the quality of the product is less important than the end result, which is owning a desirable luxury item.

Counterfeit manufacturing process

Counterfeit products are often made using cheap materials and imperfect manufacturing processes, which ultimately leads to lower-quality products. Furthermore, this practice is often associated with organized crime and can lead to intellectual property theft, harming original manufacturers. Many countries have introduced strict legal regulations to combat counterfeit production and protect authentic products.

Characteristics of Generation Z

Generation Z is a group of people born in the 1990s and early 2000s. They differ from previous generations, such as Millennials (Generation Y) or Baby Boomers, through their unique way of thinking and approach to life. People from Generation Z grew up during a time of dynamic technological development, where social media and the internet became a natural environment for them. As a result, they tend to use modern tools such as smartphones, computers, or internet applications, and easily adapt to new technologies. Generation Z is also generally very ambitious and focused on achieving success while valuing work-life balance. People from this age group prefer flexible forms of employment and remote work, allowing them to better reconcile work with their private life and pursue other passions or hobbies.

“Business of Fashion” Research

Research conducted by “Business of Fashion” in collaboration with Juv Consulting showed that as many as 54% of young Americans aged 13-25 believe that buying counterfeit products is “okay,” with only 16% firmly opposed. 30% of respondents took a neutral stance. Furthermore, more than a third of those surveyed, 37%, declared a desire to wear counterfeit products. This is a fairly significant group, but it is worth noting that as many as 42% of young people firmly denied ever making such a purchase.

Data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

According to OECD statistics, in 2022, there were about three trillion dollars’ worth of counterfeit goods in circulation worldwide. This number is three times higher than in 2013, making the trade of counterfeit luxury products the most lucrative type of crime in the world.

Recently, the e-commerce platform Etsy was accused of selling counterfeit products, which further drew attention to this problem. According to a report published by “Citron,” it is easy to find fake jewelry, Chanel bags, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Fendi accessories, Rolex watches, and Nike sweatshirts on Etsy. After the scandal was exposed, the value of Etsy’s shares fell by more than eight percent.

Only time will tell whether the increasing awareness of counterfeit products will contribute to a change in attitudes towards purchasing and consumption.


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