E-commerce is growing force in economies worldwide. Between 2016 to 2019, business-to-consumer (B2C) online sales rose by 82% to USD 4.2 trillion, with a COVID-19-associated boost of 25.7% in 2020. By 2025, e-commerce retail sales are currently forecast to rise to USD 7.2 trillion, which would represent about 24.5% of total retail sales, as compared to 17.8% in 2020. The number of sites engaging in e-commerce is constantly changing, as new players enter the market and others exit. Existing estimates suggest there are currently 12 to 24 million e-commerce sites. Most of them are small. Fewer than one million sellers sell more than USD 1,000 per year. The larger e-commerce companies are multi-billion enterprises, headquartered principally in China and the United States. The 13 largest companies sold goods and services valued at USD 2.9 trillion in 2019, which accounted for close to 60% of total B2C sales in that year. E-commerce has given certain distribution channels a big boost, providing a means for businesses to bypass retail outlets and ship small quantities of items directly to individual consumers in a cost-effective way. Counterfeiters have also successfully exploited these channels. There is little risk of detection, since the quantities of merchandise shipped in individual parcels and letter packets tend to be small and the shipments are intermingled with billions of legitimately traded items. In 2019, some 63.9% of seizures of counterfeit items involved mailed items. According to data from the Global Trade in Fakes report by the OECD and EUIPO, trading with counterfeit goods amounted to roughly $449 billion in 2019. Hong Kong and China combined for almost 80 percent of volume and around 90 percent of value of the trade with fakes.
On July 26, 2022 at OECD Washington Conference Center, David M. Luna co-chaired a joint meeting of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade (TF-CIT), U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) - Anti-Illicit Trade Committee (AITC), and Business at OECD Anti-Illicit Trade Expert Group (AITEG) with the U.S. Government, OECD member states, European Commission (EC), European Union (EU) and representatives of the business community and civil society organizations to discuss the booming illicit trade in counterfeits across e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces. David is Chair of the AITC and AITEG.
Learn more about the work of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade and Business at OECD Anti-Illicit Trade Expert Group at: