Business strategies in the counterfeit market
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.
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