Consumer Attitudes toward Counterfeit Fashion Products: Does Gender Matter?

Pages: 27 (4131 words) Published: September 24, 2013
Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring2011
Consumer Attitudes toward Counterfeit Fashion Products: Does Gender Matter? Jason M. Carpenter, Assistant Professor
Department of Retailing
University of South Carolina
jcarpent@mailbox.sc.edu
Karen Lear, Instructor
Department of Retailing
University of South Carolina
klear@mailbox.sc.edu
ABSTRACT
Counterfeit fashion products pose a serious threat to the manufacturers and retailers of authentic designer products and to the world economy. While research suggests that gender is related to purchase intention for counterfeit products, the relationship between gender and the antecedents to purchase intention (attitudes regarding ethicality, social cost, and anti-big business) has not been explored. The current research uses hierarchical structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine gender as a moderator of attitudes toward counterfeit fashion products among a sample of U.S. consumers (N = 305). Findings suggest that while gender does not moderate the social cost and anti-big business components of consumer attitudes toward counterfeit fashion products, gender does affect beliefs about the ethicality of counterfeiting. Keywords: Counterfeit products, fashion, gender

are thwarting economic development and
endangering public health and safety
(Zarocostas, 2007).

INTRODUCTION
Counterfeit goods are defined as
identical copies of authentic products (Lai
and Zaichowsky, 1999) and account for at
least five percent of the world‘s trade
(IACC, 2007). An item that bears a brand
name or logo without the permission of the
registered owner is counterfeit, or ―fake.‖
Counterfeit products have been found
among virtually every type of consumer
goods, including electronics, airplane and
auto parts, pharmaceuticals, and even food
products—sometimes
with
injurious
consequences (Phillips, 2005; U.S. Trade
Representative, 2007). Thus, counterfeiters
Article Designation: Refereed

In most countries including the U.S.,
the trafficking and sale of counterfeit
merchandise is unlawful. Second only to
CDs and software, luxury fashion
merchandise is the counterfeit product
category most widely purchased by U.S
consumers (Jacobs et al., 2001; Zarocostas,
2007). Unlike counterfeits, the production
and sale of ―knockoffs‖ or ―imitations,‖
which may look identical to designer
originals but do not bear the brand name or
1

JTATM
Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring 2011

logo of another owner, does not violate U.S.
law.

and Stottinger, 2003), the current study
attempts to address this gap in the literature
by posing the following research question to
guide the inquiry:

Deceptive counterfeit transactions
occur when the consumer is unaware that
the merchandise purchased carries a brand
name or logo without the permission of the
brand owner (Grossman and Shapiro, 1988).
However, in many cases, counterfeit
merchandise is purchased knowingly by the
consumer—a trend known as non-deceptive
counterfeiting (Wilcox et al., 2009). In nondeceptive counterfeiting, the consumer recognizes that the goods are not authentic
through information cues such as price,
purchase location, and materials used
(Chakraborty et al., 1997; Gentry et al.,
2001). Aberrant consumer behavior, which
ranges from theft and vandalism to fraud
against retailers and brand owners, has long
been recognized as widespread among
consumers (Fulletron and Punj, 1993;
Johnson 1987).

RQ: Do males and females differ in terms
of ethicality, social cost, and anti-big
business attitude toward counterfeit
fashion products?
This research will contribute to the growing
body of literature regarding the market for
counterfeit fashion products and provide
insight for fashion brand owners concerned
about insulating their brand identity and
market share against counterfeits.
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Gender and Intention to Purchase
Counterfeit Products
The intentional
purchase
of
counterfeit products is...
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