Fake retail products, a global problem

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International retail brands are gradually looking to African markets to expand. This however, comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges.

“In South Africa it’s a major issue you would have experienced – with many of our brands sold on street corners. Just recently we were able to shut down a couple hundred e-commerce sites selling either pirate or unlicensed goods. It’s a major problem globally,” Luxottica general manager Mike Elliot told CNBC Africa.  

“Fortunately, the core consumer wants the real thing and I think particularly in Africa, the more I hear about it, the concern is – is it the real thing and not a fake?”

According to Brand Africa 100TM, an initiative which highlights the top 100 most valued brands on the continent, African brands represent 33.7 per cent of all the brands nominated while international brands led the way with 66.3 per cent.

“Africa is high on the agenda largely because of the rate of growth that is experienced in Africa. Globally we’re seeing growth rates starting to stagnate and decline. Africa’s growing very fast,” said Elliot.

He added that the brand business is a big business globally and that Africa has become the latest go-to destination for retailers.

“Everyone understands it’s off a low base but at the pace at which it’s growing, and given the size of the population in Africa, it’s going to fast become a huge opportunity,” Elliot explained.   

“Given the rate of growth that we’re seeing in GDP and retail, brands are standing up and taking note – it’s a topic that’s high on the agenda of many executives’ minds and conversations.”