We look at how Ferragamo and the luxury market are fighting the ever-growing problem of counterfeit goods.
Microchips currently fall under the things you associate with pets and credit cards for security and to keep them from going missing.
But in a bid to reduce the number of counterfeits floating around the retail black market, luxury leather accessories brand Salvatore Ferragamo has just announced plans to insert microchips into product, specifically its heels and bags. The company insists that the chips won’t be visible and can only be read at a distance of around 4cm, allaying any personal tracking fears.
For the brand this move will help to curb counterfeiting and reassure any wary customers that they are buying something authentic.
To be clear, trying to crack down on counterfeits is an age-old problem, one that has grown exponentially with the rise of the Internet.
In 2014-5, New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology even held an exhibition on the topic called: Faking It: Originals, Copies and Counterfeits detailing the timeline of where and when copies began, how they have developed over the years and the laws surrounding them.
While recent global fashion retail figures confirm the scale of this problem. Last year’s major report from EU intellectual property agency OHIM proved that across the European Union, counterfeiting resulted in €43.3bn in lost sales while Italy alone lost €4.5bn. And on the jobs front, the report said across the EU, counterfeiting wiped out over half a million jobs in the 28 countries with Italy losing around 50,000 jobs.
In China, another report by Shanghai-based research centre Fortune Character Institute (FCI) released last year showed that counterfeit luxury products in China outnumber genuine items six-to-one.
So this is a smart tactic from Salvatore Ferragamo.
“Asia is its largest market, and one that is plagued by counterfeits” says WGSN Senior Editor of Retail Intelligence Petah Marian.
“By microchipping its products, it helps its customers feel confident that they are buying an authentic bag or shoe. This also helps to protect resale value, more and more now consumers are starting to see luxury goods as potential assets to be traded in or sold on when they are no longer needed.”
MORE: For full in-depth retail analysis and how the future of digital is influencing luxury fashion brands,join WGSN here