By Rob Bates
The watch and jewelry category achieved a dubious distinction in 2014—it topped the list of most-seized counterfeit items by value, unseating longtime champ handbags and wallets.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized $375 million worth of fake watches and jewelry in 2014, representing nearly one-third of the overall $1.2 billion in phony goods seized by the CBP. Values are calculated based on manufacturers’ suggested retail prices.
The origin of these products has not changed—some 63 percent of counterfeits by retail price came from China, followed by nearby Hong Kong, with 25 percent. Canada came in a surprising third with 1 percent; the country didn’t even rank in 2013.
When judged by number of seizures, apparel and accessories came in first, and watches and jewelry ranked sixth.
The value of seized watches and jewelry actually fell last year, compared to the $502 million seized in 2013, when the category represented 29 percent of the overall total. (Handbag and wallet seizures bested it that year, totaling $700 million.) The numbers reflect a 30 percent drop in the overall value of CBP seizures in 2014. Even so, this was the CBP’s third busiest year for seizures since 2005.
The CBP’s report can be seen here.