The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) says the international market for holography continues to hold-up despite the impact of COVID-19, with strong confidence that trading will soon return to normal levels.

The IHMA said in a media statement that a poll of its members has revealed that almost 50% of respondents had seen an increase in demand from customers, specifiers and end-users for holographic devices and technologies during the height of the pandemic.

Some reported that they had seen particularly strong interest from West Africa and other emerging markets, where central governments and law enforcement agencies where investing in security ID and banknote programmes among other paper-based applications.

Hologram manufacturers, converters and suppliers also reported that some of their own customers had increased concerns about the impact of counterfeiting on e-commerce supply chains in the teeth of the pandemic as it continues to sweep the globe.  

This confirms IHMA concerns about e-commerce-based businesses being ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous counterfeiters looking to trade in falsified goods during these difficult times. 

“Counterfeit goods sold online can threaten consumer lives as well as damage corporate reputations and investment in companies and their products, industry research indicates,” the statement said.

The IHMA says brand owners and product manufacturers should continue to be proactive in tackling the threats, stepping up their plans for investment in advanced authentication and verification technologies to protect brands, profits and reputations.

“This is important information from members and reflects the continuing value of holography for international industry and commerce as a frontline weapon in the fight against counterfeiting and illicit trade, Dr Paul Dunn, IHMA chair, said.

“Criminals are infiltrating global supply channels, deploying scams and counterfeiting measures to trick consumers and damage manufacturers during these difficult times for everyone. Furthermore, items such as falsified medicines and drugs pose a terrible threat and can endanger lives.  

“Holograms can be effective in the frontline fight against counterfeiters and fraudsters, protecting brands and profits. Those involved in the supply chain are reassured by their presence on products, recognising the security and financial benefits provided,” he added.

The media statement added that the use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated by the ISO12931 standard, “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.”

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