Alibaba believes that enabling the manufacture of authentic goods at a lower price will curb knock-off goods of would-be counterfeiters.
Gucci’s case against the e-commerce giant Alibaba coincides with the latter’s plan to curb the counterfeiting of high-end trademarks of brands such as Gucci and Prato. They are currently enabling shoe manufacturers in Fujian province of China to create attractive alternatives, which they believe will ease the situation.
The only problem with this is that attractive alternatives always existed but it was the “name brands” at cheaper prices that consumers where interested in.
According to the Journal of Marketing Research, three studies “demonstrate that consumers are more likely to buy a counterfeit brand when their luxury brand attitudes serve a social-adjustive function (i.e., help them gain approval in social settings) rather than a value-expressive one (i.e., help them communicate their central values and self-identities).”
Put simply, luxury brands will never stop the exclusivity entrenched in their marketing messages and consumers will not stop responding to it.
The need to have an expensive look without the funding for it is not specific to consumers who buy counterfeit goods. Even those who do buy originals are living beyond their means.
Fifty per cent out of 3,000 consumers in the US that were surveyed admitted that they spend more than they earn, a few months in the year.
The luxury brand phenomenon extends to vehicles that people can’t afford gas for, home loans that resulted in the US credit crunch, affecting markets globally.
Tackling the social issues linked to the purchase of counterfeit goods is more likely to achieve results through a slow and painful process that could take decades. However this may be the only viable solution.