Earlier this year the Office for National Statistics reported that the proportion spent online soared to the highest on record in April 2020 at 30.7%. Just to put that into perspective the proportion of online retail sales before the pandemic in February 2020 was just 19.7%.
That seems like an ok figure I hear you say… particularly when all of the shops were closed during lockdown.
But, and there is a big but, this has also led to an increase in counterfeit products being offered for sale online. Electrical Safety First reported that almost one in four Britons have purchased an electrical product online, sold by a thirdparty seller that was advertised as genuine, only to discover the product was counterfeit.
Counterfeiting doesn’t just affect retail markets and certainly isn’t limited to products such as hair straighteners and expensive electronic goods. In fact, only this week I received a media briefing about counterfeit tools being offered for sale – the issue is currently under investigation.
It is costing the electrical industry millions of pounds every year and is threatening the livelihood of people like you on a daily basis. A lot of work has already been carried out by a number of industry bodies who are active in many countries around the world to stem the supply of counterfeit products into the UK. But the fact remains that it is up to everyone to do their bit because working together as an industry is the only way that we can hope to stamp out this practice for good.
If a product looks too good to be true then the chances are that it probably is, which is why you need to be on the look out for products which arouse your suspicion.
The electrical industry spends a huge amount of time safeguarding their intellectual property and by doing so they are ensuring that the products supplied to the industry do exactly what they should and don’t come with any nasty surprises. The increasing number of counterfeit products which are entering the market are however undermining this professionalism.
Unfortunately online marketplaces make it easy for counterfeit goods to make their way onto the market and as more and more trade moves online we need to be ever more vigilant.
The message is therefore that we all need to work together. It isn’t enough to think that it is someone else’s problem, because we all have a responsibility to ensure that the products on the market are fit for purpose. The manufacturers are doing their bit to safeguard their products but you also have a responsibility to ensure that the products which you stock come from a source that you can trust.
This isn’t just the latest bandwagon for us all the jump on – it’s serious, and it’s time for us all to act.
See you next month – Tracey Rushton-Thorpe Editor
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