The Italian economy might be in deep trouble, but the country is still spending a lot on counterfeit goods.
Italians spent €6.5 billion ($8.2 billion) on counterfeit products in 2012, according to a report by Italy’s census bureau, CENSIS, released on Thursday.
That’s actually lower than the previous figure from 2008, when the Italian economy lost €7.7 billion ($9.7 billion) to the black market. People are spending less money due to Italy’s economic slowdown over the last few years.
But the Italians haven’t completely stopped purchasing knockoff items. The country’s counterfeit spending habits are detailed in the chart below. At €2.25 billion (nearly $US3 billion), fake clothes and accessories account for roughly one-third of the total amount spent on counterfeit goods. Music and videos come in second, with food and drink placing third.
If all these fake products were sold through legal channels, rather than on the black market, the Italian economy would instantly grow by €17.7 billion ($22.3 billion), according to the report. It would also mean 105,000 extra jobs.
The counterfeit market is massive in Italy: Three out of five Italians are “aware that there are illegal businesses in their neighbourhood,” the report said. It’s even worse in the south of the country where nearly 80% know that counterfeit products are being sold in their area.
What are the hot spots to buy and sell counterfeit goods? Eight out of 10 Italians said that they usually buy these knockoff goods, like bags and scarves, on the street. That’s followed street markets, the beach, department stores, online, and door-to-door sales.
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