Folks who buy counterfeit bags get flack from designers like Louis Vuittion who blame them for loss in sales (read: millions of dollars in profit). But a new study shows that the knockoff sales actually have the reverse effect on their authentic counterparts.
New York City's Chinatown is notorious for being a supermarket for fake handbags, and councilwoman Margaret Chin is trying to crack down with a proposed $1,000 fine for customers who buy them. But Chin may be coming down too hard on people who are really just thrifty shoppers.
Most people think every Prada handbag represents a lost sale for the company. But as recently reported on Slate, Prada rip-offs can also function as free advertising for real Prada handbags - partly by signaling the brand's popularity, but less obviously, by creating what MIT marketing professor Renee Richardson Gosline has described as a "gateway" product.
Economist Yi Qian of Northwestern University found that women formed attachments to their phony purses to the point that they yearned for the real thing after the fake purses began deteriorating. Eventually "more than half of the women - many of whom had never fancied themselves consumers of $1,300 purses-abandoned their counterfeits for authentic items."
So for the ladies who currently fake it with a knockoff - rest assured you're luxury brand real deal will be there when you make it.