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Business strategies in the counterfeit market


  • Staake, Thorsten
  • Thiesse, Frédéric
  • Fleisch, Elgar


Counterfeit trade is a multi-billion dollar industry affecting an ever-wider range of goods and markets. Despite the diversity of counterfeit products in terms of complexity, manufacturing techniques, investments in production facilities, potential dangers or value for the users, and degrees of conflict for the counterfeit producers with the local authorities, current academic literature still refers to counterfeit producers as one homogeneous group. Against this background, the present study investigates the existence of strategic groups among counterfeiters based on an empirical examination of counterfeited products using cluster analysis. The results indicate that brand owners are confronted with five different groups of counterfeiters: (1) disaggregators, (2) imitators, (3) fraudsters, (4) desperados, and (5) smugglers. The findings of this study contribute to a more differentiated understanding of each group's learning and growth strategies and help practitioners to better position their companies with respect to the counterfeit market.

Suggested Citation

  • Staake, Thorsten & Thiesse, Frédéric & Fleisch, Elgar, 2012. "Business strategies in the counterfeit market," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 658-665.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:65:y:2012:i:5:p:658-665
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.03.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Higgins, Richard S & Rubin, Paul H, 1986. "Counterfeit Goods," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 211-230, October.
    2. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1988. "Counterfeit-Product Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 59-75, March.
    3. Wilke, Ricky & Zaichkowsky, Judith Lynne, 1999. "Brand imitation and its effects on innovation, competition, and brand equity," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 9-18.
    4. Olsen, Janeen E. & Granzin, Kent L., 1993. "Using channels constructs to explain dealers' willingness to help manufactures combat counterfeiting," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-170, June.
    5. H. Leibenstein, 1950. "Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers' Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 183-207.
    6. Harvey, Michael, 1988. "A new way to combat product counterfeiting," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 19-28.
    7. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1986. "Foreign Counterfeiting of Status Goods," NBER Working Papers 1915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Jen-Te Yao, 2005. "Counterfeiting and an Optimal Monitoring Policy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 95-114, January.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1988. "Foreign Counterfeiting of Status Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 79-100.
    10. Cordell, Victor V. & Wongtada, Nittaya & Kieschnick, Robert Jr., 1996. "Counterfeit purchase intentions: Role of lawfulness attitudes and product traits as determinants," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 41-53, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rosenbaum, Mark S. & Cheng, Mingming & Wong, Ipkin Anthony, 2016. "Retail knockoffs: Consumer acceptance and rejection of inauthentic retailers," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 2448-2455.


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