Just under 30% of under 35s have purchased counterfeit alcohol, while 19% have purchased fake cigarettes, a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has revealed.

This compares with 14% and 11% of 35-year-olds and over, the study of 1,100 consumers discovered.

When questioned about films and music, 60% of under 35s said they purchased counterfeit goods, while 55% said they bought fake clothing brands.

Respondents in London and Northern Ireland were found to be buying more fake goods than average, whilst those in Scotland were buying less, the survey also revealed.

Consumers from lower social grades were more inclined to buy counterfeit goods than higher grades, particularly in respect of cigarettes, where price was “overwhelmingly the main reason” that respondents cited for purchasing fakes. More than a quarter (26%) said that genuine products were “overpriced”.

Safety concerns emerged as the primary deterrent to purchasing counterfeit goods with 75% of the survey’s respondents saying they would be “put off” buying counterfeit goods by health and safety concerns.  

The vast majority of respondents also called for harsher penalties for counterfeiters, followed by stronger enforcement and better consumer education in order to tackle the illicit trade.

“Counterfeits have an obvious impact on profit and jobs, yet people increasingly see access to fakes as a normal, consumer choice,” said Mark James from PWC’s anti-counterfeiting team. “Companies invest significant amounts of time, money in effort in developing their products. Manufacturers and buyers of counterfeit goods strike right at the heart of that. Ultimately, companies are seeing their brand, reputation and revenues stolen.”