Canon Report Claims 18% of People Unknowingly Bought Knock-Off Gear Last Year

Think you can tell the difference between a real and a fake?

canon counterfeit

canon counterfeit

For a number of years now, Canon has been at the forefront of attempting to stop the sale and purchase of counterfeit goods. Now, a new study commissioned by Canon shows that counterfeit electronics is still a major issue, and that 18% of consumers have unknowingly purchased counterfeit electronics.

According to Canon's counterfeit awareness site, the most commonly copied Canon goods are batteries and chargers. The study, which surveyed 1,069 electronics buyers in 2013, found some 30% of them bought fake goods. In a press release, Canon made the following points:

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

Unfortunately, the full study wasn't released, so there's a lot we don't know about how Canon crunched these numbers. For example, if 18% of consumers don't know they bought counterfeit goods, how did Canon get that number? Was it based on overall sale of counterfeits, minus those who knowingly purchased them?

For most consumers, the area they're probably most likely getting faked electronics is flash storage. SD cards and USB drives are notoriously frequently faked, with some reports of even orders fulfilled by Amazon being counterfeit. Usually, sticking to major retailers (that means "sold by Amazon" not just "fulfilled by Amazon") or through the company directly is usually the safest way to be sure. But if nothing else, examples like this show just how hard it can be to tell.