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Italy first in Europe for counterfeit smartphones

by Laura Cavestri

The smartphone industry lost €45.3 billion and sold 184 million less cell phones in 2015 due to the parallel market of counterfeit devices, a report by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (Euipo) showed.

While the issue is less pronounced in Europe than in Asia or Africa, Italy has the unenviable status of being the member state in which the phenomenon is most widespread: smartphone counterfeiting has subtracted €885 million from the legal economy, equivalent to 15% of legitimate sales.

The report, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union, analysed the number of smartphones sold in 90 countries in every region of the world, based on monitoring of consumer sales points.

Below Italy came Britain, where lost sales amounted to around €660 million, equivalent to about 5.7% of the legitimate sector. In Germany, losses were estimated at €564 million, or 5.7% of legal sales, one of the lowest rates in the EU. Spain had losses of €386 million (or 10% of the legal sector) and France had losses of €380 million, equivalent to 8% of legitimate sales.

About 1.3 billion smartphones were sold around the world in 2015: about one person in six bought a smartphone that year at an average price of €275.

In the European Union, 150 million smartphone devices were sold in the same year, one for every three EU citizens. It is estimated therefore that the effect of counterfeiting in the 28 EU member states totaled 14 million units in 2015, or 8.3% of sales in the sector, with a total value of €4.2 billion. That is less however than in other parts of the world.

Estimates for losses in other regions due to counterfeiting include: 21.3% of legitimate sales in Africa, 19.6% in Latin America, 17.4% in the Arab states, 15.6% in China, 11.8% in the Asia-Pacific region and 7.6% in North America.