Consumer Behavior toward Counterfeit Sporting Goods

By Chiu, Weisheng; Lee, Kwang-Yong et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, May 2014 | Go to article overview

Consumer Behavior toward Counterfeit Sporting Goods


Chiu, Weisheng, Lee, Kwang-Yong, Won, Doyeon, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


Counterfeit goods are defined as illegally made products that resemble the genuine goods but are typically of lower quality in terms of performance, reliability, or durability (Lai & Zaichkowsky, 1999). The global market for counterfeit goods is estimated to exceed $600 billion and has grown over 10,000% in the past two decades (Chaudhry & Zimmerman, 2013). Although it originated in categories such as luxury clothing and accessories, counterfeiting now affects a wide range of industries (Tuyls, Guajardo, Batina, & Kerins, 2007), and almost all product categories (Shultz, 1996). Of these categories, it is sporting goods that have become one of the main targets of counterfeiting, because the manufacture of sporting goods requires a low level of technicality (Transcrime, 2010).

In statistics on seizures reported by the U.S. customs agency in 2010, counterfeit sporting goods (CSGs) ranked high among all categories of seized counterfeit goods. Athletic shoes topped the list, accounting for 24% of all seizures by value, and sports clothing ranked third by value; in terms of the number of seizures, sports clothing ranked highest (Sports & Fitness Industry Association; SFIA, 2011). The Anti-Counterfeit Group (ACG, 2003) reported that branded sporting companies lose an estimated 11.5% of their annual revenue owing to the impact of counterfeiting. Thus, counterfeiting seriously damages the worldwide sales of different brands of sporting products. Although many brand marketers have taken independent legal action against counterfeiters (Ashuri, 1993), the counterfeiting of sports brands continues to grow rapidly in the global market (Phillips, 2007).

Although this is a serious problem, to our knowledge there has been little discussion of sporting goods as a target of counterfeiting. In contrast, purchasing behavior toward counterfeit goods has been investigated extensively with regard to luxury goods (Yoo & Lee, 2012) and pirated software (Batra & Sinha, 2000). Therefore, in this study we investigated the factors that influence consumers' CSGs purchase intention and decision.

In numerous recent studies, researchers have used the theory of planned behavior (TPB) as a base theory to explain individuals' behavioral intentions (e.g., Alfadl, Ibrahim, & Hassali, 2012; Jirotmontree, 2013; Yoon, 2011). Thus, our purpose in this study was to use the TPB in our investigation of consumer behavior underlying the purchase of CSGs.

Literature Review and Hypotheses

The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB)

The TPB is a well-researched intention model that has been successful for use in predicting and explaining behavior across a wide variety of domains. According to the TPB, purchase behavior is determined by purchase intention, which is, in turn, determined by subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and attitude (Ajzen, 1991). The links among subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and attitude toward purchases have been fully examined with various products (e.g., Alfadl, Ibrahim, & Hassali, 2012; Jirotmontree, 2013; Yoon, 2011), but not with sporting goods.

According to Ajzen (1991), subjective norms refer to the perceived social pressure to perform or not perform a certain behavior. This factor is influenced by multiplying the strength of each normative belief by the person's motivation to comply with the referent in question. Perceived behavioral control reflects a person's perception of the ease or difficulty of implementing the behavior in question. It concerns beliefs about the presence of control factors that may facilitate or hinder that behavior. Attitude, defined as a learned predisposition to respond to an object in a consistently favorable or unfavorable way, is significant as a predictor of consumer behavior and highly correlated with one's intentions (Ajzen, 1991). Thus, we proposed the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1: Subjective norms will have a positive influence on consumers' intentions to purchase CSGs. …

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