Imitation clothing cost UK retailers 3.6 billion per year

17 September 2015

The UK clothing industry loses more than €3.6 billion per year due to counterfeit clothing being sold in its market. An analysis by, based on data from the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), shows that imitation clothing across the European Union negatively affects the market by as much as €26 billion. Italy and Spain see the biggest loss of legitimate revenue, with retailers missing out on more than €4 billion per year.

The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the European agency responsible for the registration of trademarks and design IP, recently performed research into how much damage retailers in the clothing industry lose annually due to imitation or fake clothing. An analysis of the data reveals that the damage across the whole European Union is more than €26 billion – about 9.7% of the total European market turnover. The damage is caused predominantly by people choosing to purchase cheaper imitations than the expensive originals, in most cases consumer are aware of the phoney status of their products.

Cost of imitation clothing for retail industry

€3.6 billion
Per year the UK clothing industry loses more than €3.6 billion through imitation clothing available on the market. This makes up almost 14% of the total loss across the European market – placing the UK in third position for damages across the region. Only retailers in Italy and Spain face bigger losses, with around €4.5 billion and €4.1 billion respectively. France takes the number four spot with a loss of €3.5 billion, with similar losses seen in Germany. The cost for Irish retailers amounts to about €220 million.

The Netherlands comes in on the sixth spot, with €988 million in losses, with 7th spot going to Greece where €953 is missed yearly, while Belgium comes next with a loss of €881 million. The top 10 is closed by Austria and Sweden. The countries least affected by imitation clothing are found in the Balkans, Bulgaria and Slovakia, and Luxemburg – with retailers in Estonia losing the least (total damage of €32 million). According to the OHIM the total damage of €26 billion in the EU comes at a cost of 363.000 jobs.


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