During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves looking for a new hobby that allowed them to be outdoors, and safely socially distanced from others. So, it’s no surprise that the cycling industry saw a sharp uptake in sales, causing a shortage of bikes and parts that is likely to run in to 2022.
UK retail giant Halfords, saw their profits rise 184% to £64.5m by the end of April 2021, and a 54% increase in sales of cycling products, resulting in demand far exceeding supply*. In addition to the surge in demand, many factories making components and spare parts had to shut down and cease production over the pandemic, resulting in even more supply problems.
The surge in counterfeit bikes and parts
As a consequence of the shortage, many people have taken to online marketplaces to find the parts they need. This is where fake, counterfeit products thrive with fake bike chains, parts, components and even carbon frames saturating sites like Ebay and AliExpress.
Brand owners in the cycling industry are now faced with the challenge of protecting their brand, and their customers from the threat of online copycats. Many of these counterfeit bikes and parts have not undergone the rigorous safety testing required by law, and put customers at serious risk of injury, and even death. Our client Hornit experienced exactly this problem with their award winning CLUG bike rack.
3 steps you can take to protect your brand from counterfeits online:
- Register your intellectual property
- Trademarks – Register your logo, word marks, and brand names so you can enforce against any copycats using your name
- Design – Protect your products appearance, physical shape, configuration or decoration.
- Patent – Safeguard your original invention to enable you to take action against counterfeiters.
- Copyright – This is an automatic right that is useful for you to take down any listings online that are using your images or copy to sell fake versions of your products.
- Determine where you have a problem
Identify where your brand is being abused online. Check marketplaces not only locally, but worldwide too. Make sure to monitor marketplaces in the regions that you intend to trade. Many fakes are manufactured in China where they can be cheaply made and distributed worldwide.
- Monitor and defend your brand
This is where SnapDragon comes in. Using your intellectual property, we can monitor, detect and enforce abuse of your brand on the world’s busiest e-commerce, social media and domain sites. We continuously monitor the web to find counterfeits of your product, and take them down. Our fantastic team of multi-lingual brand protection specialists will help you fight back against the fakes and protect your customers, your revenue, and your reputation.
Want to try it out for yourself?
Sign up for a free trial of Swoop, our new self-service brand protection software. We find the listings, and you take them down. You can upgrade to the managed service at any time. Try it for free for 14 days with no obligation – no card details required!
Want to see more? Check out the work we did with Hornit, when their innovative CLUG bike rack was being plagued by counterfeiters online.
*Source: The guardian – Halfords reports 184% jump in profits amid global bike shortage