Counterfeiting constitutes a problem for the luxury industry, one that has arisen in recent years, parallel to the growth of the industry itself. This paper argues that counterfeit purchases stem from a boomerang effect of luxury brands’ ongoing strategy to attract more consumers. To grow in volume, luxury brands offer more accessible and conspicuously branded products. Exclusivity and exceptional quality — the core values of luxury — have been violated by these lower-cost products. The focus has moved from true values — quality of craftsmanship — to superficial ones such as logo conspicuousness. Beyond making good copies easier to produce, this may have increased cynicism among consumers and lessened the moral barriers attached to the purchase of counterfeit products. A study on 966 actual luxury consumers shows indeed that negative ethical judgments about luxury and perception of luxury as being superficial are strong predictors of luxury counterfeit purchasing.
Journal of Brand Strategy, June 2014, vol. 3, n°1, pp.59-70