Counterfeit Consumption: Consumer Welfare Perspective

Behice Ece Ilhan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Gulnur Tumbat, San Francisco State University, USA
Previous studies suggest that counterfeit consumption, regarded as an illegal and unethical practice, has undesirable consequences for markets, firms, and also for consumers. The focus of consumer studies on the topic is limited to the motivations for or symbolic meanings of counterfeit consumption. Yet, the potential positive consequences of counterfeit consumption on consumer's welfare haven't been explored. We argue that the Western contexts used in existing studies bring in a specific choice dichotomy – between having an 'authentic' versus a 'counterfeit (inauthentic)' product – that acts as an impediment to explore possible consumer welfare implications of counterfeit consumption. We use an alternative context where the consumer choice may be between having a counterfeit product versus none to explore consumer welfare implications of counterfeit consumption. Our findings challenge the anti-counterfeit consumption discourse and propose a novel conceptualization of consumer welfare.
[ to cite ]:
Behice Ece Ilhan and Gulnur Tumbat (2009) ,"Counterfeit Consumption: Consumer Welfare Perspective", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 112-113.