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“Strong demand for anti-counterfeiting devices set to drive holography growth during pandemic” reports IHMA

13 November 2020

DEMAND FOR security and authentication devices to tackle the threat of counterfeiting caused by the COVID-19 crisis will strengthen the holography market in 2021. That’s according to global trade body the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA).

The IHMA asserts that authentication and track and trace systems, which use holographic technologies, will help to underpin international efforts by Government and law enforcement agencies to bolster both overt and covert protection strategies across the next 12 months.

While Asia will continue to offer opportunities for holograms in 2021, the IHMA suggests that countries across North America and Europe will also be ramping up investment in technologies to tackle counterfeiting as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc, offering additional opportunities for hologram sales across these regions.

Indeed, recent media reports about the dangers of buying fake products online indicate that the pandemic will actively contribute towards the push for more security devices.

Haircare brands, cosmetics and skincare tools (among other consumer goods) have been hit hard, with reports of a 56% increase in counterfeit products sold online across 700 brand clients in the first six months of this year alone. Some skincare device companies and haircare brands, for instance, have seen counterfeit sales rise by almost 40%.

Fake medicines

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that a growing volume of fake medicines are on sale in developing countries, while Interpol has seen an increase in fake medical products. Seizures of fake COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) have been reported by both the US CBP and the World Customs Organisation.

This situation is set to continue in the next 12 months, predicts the IHMA, while growth in packaging authentication devices will remain “strong and lucrative” on the back of forecasts that the market for anti-counterfeit pharmaceuticals and cosmetics packaging will reach more than US$10 billion by the end of 2026, growing by almost 9% in the next five years despite the current situation.

The overall global market for anti-counterfeit packaging is projected to be worth in excess of US$188 billion by 2025.

A poll has revealed that almost 50% of hologram manufacturers and suppliers are seeing an increase in demand from customers, specifiers and end users for holographic devices and technologies. This indicates that hologram users will continue to be concerned about the impact of counterfeiting on e-commerce supply chains as the pandemic’s impact is felt well into the New Year.

The IHMA advises brand owners and product manufacturers to tackle the threats and ramp up their plans for investment in authentication and verification technologies to protect brands, profits and reputations.

Global supply channels

IHMA chair Dr Paul Dunn (pictured, right) observed: “Criminals are infiltrating global supply channels, deploying scams and counterfeits to trick people during these difficult times. Furthermore, items such as falsified medicines and drugs pose a terrible threat and can endanger lives. It’s clear that, in the face of the continued impact of COVID-19, we can legitimately say brand owners, law enforcement, Government and other influencers will continue to push demand for authentication and brand protection devices such as holograms.”

Dunn added that holography will continue to find new applications in areas such as medical surgery, head-up display technologies and other smart devices designed to enrich people’s lives.

“Display holograms, which can be overlooked and a small sector within the holographic sector, possess growth potential,” highlighted Dunn. “The growing demand for this type of advanced holography for medical imaging in the healthcare industry, for example, is encouraging and will contribute towards driving the sector’s growth in 2021.”

The use of authentication solutions, as advocated by ISO 12931, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products coming from counterfeiting ‘hot spots’ in Asia and eastern Europe. Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.