Fakes by the Numbers: Counterfeiting Exploded Into a $600 billion Problem

Counterfeiting has exploded into a $600-billion-a-year problem, growing over 10,000 percent in the past 20 years, according to The International AntiCounterfeiting Coaltio. The International Chamber of Commerce estimates that 7% of the world trade is in counterfeit goods and that the counterfeit market is worth $ 350 billion. 

About $100 billion worth of counterfeit tech hardware gets hawked worldwide each year, according to the Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement, or AGMA. That's 3 times more than pirated software and 10 times more than pirated music and movies, according to industry reports. Counterfeit software is reported to be a $34 billion market. 

Today, 10% of tech hardware products sold are counterfeit, AGMA estimates. Fake products include personal computers, networking gear, printers, memory sticks, cameras, camcorders and cell phones. 

Counterfeit automobile parts, like brake pads, cost the auto industry alone over $12 billion dollars in lost sales. If these losses were eliminated the auto industry could hire 200,000 additional workers.

More on Fakes By the Numbers, according to The International AntiCounterfeiting Coaltion

  • $600 Billion: The estimated annual sales in counterfeit products worldwide

  • $23 Billion: The estimated annual sales in counterfeit products in New York City

  • $20 Billion: The minimum estimated loss to American companies from counterfeit products

  • 550,000: The number of fake watches reportedly seized by Cartier in a recent raid of a Chinatown wholesaler

  • 10,000: The number of square meters of fake Louis Vuitton Monogram canvas seized by French Customs in Paris in December 2004 – enough to make 28,000 wallets or 18,000 handbags

  • $1.69: The average amount paid by Chinatown wholesalers to import a fake blank watch, according to Cartier investigators

  • 68: The percentage of counterfeit goods (ranked in dollar value) seized by U.S. Customs that originated in either China or Hong Kong in 2004

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