Businesses are at risk of being sold counterfeit print supplies than ever before, as global economies lose as much as $3 billion yearly to counterfeit products, according to a recent HP-commissioned study by Harris Interactive.
According to the report, market trends showed an increase in counterfeiting, even as enforcement scores significant wins.
In Nigeria, HP, in collaboration with security agents, has raided several hideouts in Lagos, where counterfeit HP consumables were sold and arrest was effected.
Already costing the global economy $3 billion per year according to the Imaging Supplies Coalition, the growing risk of fake products was driven by an increasingly broad supplier ecosystem, lack of certainty by buyers that their purchases are genuine, and a lack of awareness of the risks of purchasing counterfeit goods.
Analysing the report, the Director Global Anti-Counterfeit Programme at HP, Glenn Jones, said: "Every one of the key market indicators we monitor show a significant increase in the risk of counterfeit print supplies. For companies like HP, counterfeits undermine decades of focused research and testing aimed at creating superior ink and toner, and reliable, high-quality cartridges for our customers.
"For users, fakes cause a significant increase in print failures, low page yield, poor print quality, leaks and clogs, in addition to voiding hardware warranties."
According to Harris Interactive surveys, the past four years have shown a 30 per cent plus drop in companies working with a trusted, primary supplier, and a 27 per cent increase in companies buying purely on availability.
With a broader, less trusted supplier network, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are losing the ability to discern the authenticity of their cartridges with absolute confidence. All regions heavily affected by counterfeiting, in particular the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa, with almost three quarters of businesses surveyed feeling confident their purchases were genuine.
While the market trends are concerning, HP and other Print Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are continuing their significant efforts to battle this issue by actively engaging with local authorities.
According to HP, across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), over the last five years, approximately 12 million counterfeits and components have been seized by local authorities, supported by HP.
"HP has conducted over 4,500 inspections of reseller stock and suspicious deliveries for customers. Through HP's Anti Counterfeiting and Fraud (ACF) Programme, the company also actively educates its customers and partners to be vigilant against fake printing supplies," HP said in a statement.
Citing recent successes made across the EMEA region, HP said in a statement that the authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) disrupted the criminal operations of an internationally active syndicate that had assembled counterfeits of HP and Samsung-branded cartridges, resulting in the seizure of around 46,000 illicit items.
In a major series of raids, Russian authorities dismantled a criminal syndicate that had been wholesaling counterfeit HP-branded cartridges. Officials seized over 215,000 illicit items while raiding residential and warehouse sites in the Volga region and the Moscow area.
Officials in the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia recently disrupted a criminal ring that had manufactured fake cartridges for HP printers and sold the fakes in bulk, seizing 44,000 illicit items such as fake toner cartridges and components for assembling fakes. Authorities in Kenya and Uganda also dismantled numerous wholesalers and resellers of counterfeit cartridges for HP printers, raiding warehouses, outlet stores, and seized fakes from a shipping container in the areas of Kampala, Mombasa, and Nairobi and confiscating 16,000 illicit items, HP said.