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A new report from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), estimates that 184 million fewer smartphones were sold by the legitimate industry in 2015, due to the presence of counterfeit devices in the marketplace.

The report estimates that in 2015, 12.9 % of legitimate sales of smartphones were lost worldwide due to the presence of counterfeits in the market – equivalent to EUR 45.3 billion.

The report analysed the number of smartphones sold in 90 countries in every region in the world, based on point-of-sale tracking of consumer purchases.

In 2015, 1.3 billion smartphones were sold worldwide, meaning that approximately one out of every six people on the planet purchased a smartphone that year, at an average cost of EUR 275.

In the European Union, 150 million devices were sold in 2015, one for every three EU citizens. The effect of counterfeiting in the EU-28 is estimated at 14 million units in 2015, corresponding to 8.3 % of the sector’s sales, or EUR 4.2 billion.

Based on the data available, for other regions, 21.3% of sales were lost due to counterfeiting in Africa, 19.6% in Latin America, 17.4% in the Arab countries, 15.6% in China, 11.8% in the Asia-Pacific region and 7.6% in North America in 2015. China accounts for one third of the total global revenue loss in the smartphone sector.

EUIPO Executive Director António Campinos said: At the EUIPO, through our reporting and analysis, we are building a picture of how counterfeiting and piracy affect key economic sectors. This is our first report in this series which analyses a sector both inside and outside the EU. Its estimate that 12.9% of legitimate sales of smartphones were lost globally in 2015 can act as a powerful message for policymakers, and all who work to combat counterfeiting worldwide.

ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau’s Director Brahima Sanou said: Counterfeiting affects economic growth as well as consumers’ health. I am pleased to see that our collaboration with EUIPO helps to raise awareness about the social and economic consequences of counterfeited smartphones. It is our responsibility to take steps to protect consumers.

Today´s report is the eleventh in a series of studies released by the EUIPO via the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights into the economic impact of counterfeiting in industrial sectors in the EU. This report is the first study in the series with a worldwide scope. The series previously looked at: the pesticides sector, the pharmaceutical sector, the spirits and wine sector, the recorded music sector, the handbags and luggage sector, the watches and jewellery sector, the toys and games sector; the sports goods sector; the clothes, shoes and accessories sector; and the cosmetics and personal care items sector.

United Kingdom

In the UK, lost sales due to counterfeiting are estimated at EUR 660 million in 2015, with an estimated 5.7 % of revenue lost for the legitimate industry.

Italy

In Italy, lost smartphone sales due to counterfeiting are estimated at EUR 885 million in 2015, with an estimated 15.4 % of revenue lost for the legitimate industry.

Germany

In Germany, lost sales due to counterfeiting are estimated at EUR 564 million in 2015. Germany’s estimated lost revenue for the legitimate industry is one of the lowest in the EU at 5.7 %.

France

In France, lost sales due to counterfeiting are estimated at EUR 380 million in 2015, with an estimated 8 % of revenue lost for the legitimate industry.

Spain

In Spain, lost sales due to counterfeiting are estimated to be EUR 386 million in 2015, with an estimated lost revenue of 10 %.