The fight against counterfeit footwear continues.
Officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Louisville, Ky., last week confiscated 625 pairs of fake Gucci shoes that (if they had been real) would have retailed for roughly $456,250.
According to CBP, the manifest on the shipment claimed that it contained cell phone shells. But when officers examined the parcel on Oct. 2 to ensure it met regulations, they discovered the package actually contained a selection of Gucci shoes. After being examined by an import specialist, it was determined that the footwear was, in fact, bogus.
The shipment originated in Dubai and was addressed to an incorporated company in New York, according to CBP.
Counterfeit goods has long been an issue for the footwear industry, but the rise of online shopping has fostered tremendous growth in black-market merchandise. In fiscal 2019, CBP and Homeland Security Investigation, the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, seized 27,599 shipments containing intellection property rights violations, valued at $1.5 billion.
The Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America estimates that footwear makes up about 12% of counterfeit goods seized, with the most commonly affected brands being Nike, Adidas, Ugg and Christian Louboutin.
In a statement in March, Matt Priest, president and CEO of FDRA, said, “Counterfeit footwear threatens jobs in our industry and puts U.S. consumers at risk, and bad actors are using popular e-commerce sites to target unsuspecting consumers. With today’s sophisticated counterfeiting operations, it can be nearly impossible for consumers to determine a legitimate good from a counterfeit product.”
Indeed, consumers are expressing growing concern about the authenticity of their purchases. A recent study from retail technology company Intelligence Node found that 66% of consumers are at least moderately worried about purchasing a counterfeit item — despite only 17% reporting that they have done so.
Sanjeev Sularia, CEO at Intelligence Node, cited a recent Forbes study that estimated sales from counterfeit and pirated goods total around $1.7 trillion every year.