GENEVA — The manufacture and distribution of counterfeit apparel, footwear, and accessories is estimated to cost European Union-based producers and retailers more than $28 billion in lost revenues each year in the 28-country market, or nearly 10 percent of total annual sales in the sector, a report on infringements of intellectual property rights related to trademarks and designs estimated.
Retail trade was the most affected, with $11.5 billion in lost revenues, followed by manufacturers, with $5.4 billion, and wholesale trade, with $4.8 billion in lost sales, the study found.
Italy, the EU’s fashion and design leader, was the worst affected, with direct effects of counterfeiting estimated at nearly $5 billion (8.5 percent of sales), followed by Spain, with $4.4 billion (15.8 percent), the U.K., with $3.9 billion (8 percent), and Germany, with $3.8 billion (7.9 percent).
The study, carried out by the European Patent office, the Office for the Harmonization of the Internal EU Market, and the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, also estimated the loss of sales “translate into direct employment losses of approximately 363,000 jobs.”
The study covered the following products, among others: Outerwear such as coats; suits; ensembles; jackets; trousers; skirts; T-shirts; blouses; underwear and nightwear; brassieres; tracksuits; ties; hats; gloves; belts, and footwear for all purposes.
The European Apparel and Textile Confederation, an umbrella group that represents 173,000 companies in the industry with a total turnover of $179 billion and 1.66 million workers, in light of the report findings has urged the EU “to take concrete actions” to combat the problem.
Euratex said the first step is to fight the phenomenon within the EU, to take steps to ensure imported counterfeit products are intercepted and the perpetrators brought to justice, and that exporters of EU products enjoy full protection in third markets.