In the past 17 years, up to 2011, the value of counterfeit goods worldwide has grown 20 times over. It has caused the loss of 270,000 jobs in the past 10 years, around125,000 of which were in the European Union alone. China is way ahead of all other countries in the production of fakes, followed by Korea, Taiwan and the other Asian countries.

According to the latest figures available from the Italian eyewear industry association, Anfao, the value of fake sunglasses and prescription frames seized in Italy alone reached €18.9 million between 2008 and 2010. It jumped to €26.5 million in the first half of 2011 because of the single seizure of more than 2 million pieces in the Veneto Region during the six-month period, compared with 2.8 million pieces seized from 2008 to 2010.

Across all the sectors of the economy, the market share of counterfeit goods is estimated at between 7 and 9 percent of the goods traded worldwide. The percentage is estimated at 5 percent for watches, 10 percent for perfumes and 20 percent for textiles, fashion goods and clothing.

The turnover generated by counterfeiters in Italy in 2012 has been estimated at anywhere between €3.7 and 7.5 billion, over 60 percent of which was accounted for by clothing and fashion goods, followed by watches. Italy leads the way in terms of purchases of counterfeit goods in Europe and is in 5th place worldwide in terms of their production.

These data were published by Indicam, an Italian institute for the fight against counterfeiters. It says that trading in counterfeits is rising partly because of the fast and pervasive growth of internet shopping, which has facilitated illegal transactions.