16% said they were most likely to buy counterfeit alcohol online

16% said they were most likely to buy counterfeit alcohol online

Nearly one in five UK consumers buy alcohol on the black market, with under-35s the worst offenders, according to a new survey. 

The study, published by PriceWaterhouseCoopers today (2 October), found that 18% of respondents admitted to "sometimes" purchasing counterfeit alcohol. Around three out of ten (28%) of 18-34 year-olds admitted to buying counterfeit drinks products.

Of the over-35 year-olds questioned, 14% said they had acquired illicit alcohol. 

The survey, conducted among 1,073 consumers in August this year, also found that 70% believed fake alcohol was 'very easy' or 'easy' to buy in the UK, behind cigarettes, clothing and films and music.

Asked where they would "most likely" buy fake alcohol, 16% said online, 45% said at markets and 39% said abroad.

Meanwhile, asked why they bought counterfeit goods, 31% said they were unaware it was fake, while 26% of respondents said because genuine products are over-priced. 

The report noted: "An indication of the size of the problem in the UK comes from HMRC who have seized nearly 15 million litres of illegally produced alcohol since 2005."

Mark James, of PwC's anti-counterfeiting team said: “The digital economy and global supply chains have made tracking counterfeit goods and measuring their economic damage fiendishly complex.” 

He added: “Ultimately, companies are seeing their brand, reputation and revenues stolen.”

In terms of a solution, the most popular option among the survey's respondents was “harsher penalties for counterfeiters”, followed by “stronger enforcement”.