The purchase of fake goods is a "popular and widespread" occurrence and is becoming increasingly socially acceptable, according to a new report.
The report entitled Counterfeiting Luxury: Exposing the Myths 2007 and prepared by Davenport Lyons and Ledbury Research states that over 64 per cent of people who bought fakes were prepared to tell their friends and peers about their purchase.
On average, shoppers have spent ten per cent more on faked designer and luxury products than in 2006 bringing the average spend on fake goods to £21.3 per person.
Over ten per cent of people have paid more than £50 for a fake.
Head of intellectual property and brands at Davenport Lyons Simon Tracey said: "The social acceptability of fake goods is a deeply concerning shift in consumer behaviour. Given the balance of findings in our 2007 report, the time has come to tackle the UK demand for fakes head on."
The report states that in 2006 more than three million British adults bought fake luxury clothing, footwear, leather goods, watches or jewellery last year. And one in 20 Britons bought a fake bearing the name of one of the top ten luxury brands.
Regarding measures needed to curb the purchase of fakes, the report recommends informing consumers about the consequences of buying fake products and also measures to introduce prison sentences for consumers buying fakes.
However, the report added that while 71 per cent of consumers would not buy fakes if it would result in jail time, many believe that such measure would be hard to enforce. Furthermore 68 per cent of people also feel that buying a fake should not be seen as an illegal act.
Speaking about the harmful effects of buying fake goods, Mr Tracey said: "This is sadly an issue with international ramifications and it is clear that the public needs to be made aware of whose pockets they are lining when they buy a fake.
"Interestingly, criminalising the purchase of counterfeit goods would not work as an isolated step in the short term. Unless consumers are made aware of the implications of buying fakes and the part the money they hand over can play in organised crime generally together with the specific threat to global security, matters can only get worse," he commented.
The report claims that the purchase of fakes could be used to fund international terrorism.
The study asked over 2,000 UK consumers about their views on counterfeiting and copying brands. Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Burberry are the most frequently faked labels, according to the report.