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Latest update: September 2023 | by globaleyez GmbH


Test Purchases on AliExpress 

Do legit vendors sell the original stuff?



In the past years, AliExpress has made significant moves to try and increase its market share in Europe. As you may have heard, the Asian online marketplace has gained notoriety for selling cheap products that come from China. They also have a reputation on their platform for a large number of counterfeits of renowned brands of all categories.


Find out everything you need to know about AliExpress


Taking all that into account, we decided it was time to conduct a case study into AliExpress. We wanted to learn how they are trying to grow their European market share and whether their methods are likely to work.


As AliExpress is one of the marketplaces we check continuously on behalf of our clients, we’ve been noticing an ever-increasing number of seemingly European sellers active on the Chinese platform. Many of them started appearing in the last quarter of 2019. But are they real? Or are these European sellers a simple disguise for Chinese sellers? In other words, are European sellers simply reselling Chinese products?


Is this an effective strategy for winning over European consumers? Can AliExpress take on market leader Amazon this way? Also, will undercutting Amazon on seller’s fees work to attract legit sellers to the platform? Our tests were going to answer these questions, and much more.

Putting AliExpress to the globaleyez test

Many shoppers are lured into a false sense of trust when the seller has a high review score, the product looks to be of sound quality, and the “official” logo is used. But does this mean what turns up will be the genuine product?


Also, how far does AliExpress take its registration process for sellers? Will we be getting an item from the country the seller should be located at? (As eBay has recently discovered, some vendors may manipulate the item location in their listing to appear more legitimate, but it does not look like AliExpress has anything in place to discourage this.)

How does AliExpress work?

AliExpress looks and feels like a regular online marketplace. There’s a search bar you can use to look for the products you need. You have the option to toggle and change which country you want the product to come from and be delivered to. There are several sellers from Europe, and the number is growing every day, but they are still behind China vendors when it comes to the sheer amount of online stores.


Just like on Amazon, you can see products offered by different third-party sellers. But what tools are available to help you see which sellers are legitimate?


Screenshot of listing of adidas shoes on AliExpress

Screenshot of listing of adidas shoes on AliExpress



When you click on a product, you can see the rating of the store at the top of the page. This is based on user feedback and is given as a percentage, much in a similar way to how Amazon rates their third-party sellers.


If you are shopping around for a seller you can choose the country you want the item to be shipped from, and then choose your seller from the list. There seem to be many sellers already on the platform from several European countries, like Spain and Italy.


Screenshot of Adidas store in Italy with 66,7% positive feedback on AliExpress with 66,7% positive feedback

Screenshot of Adidas store in Italy with 66,7% positive feedback on AliExpress with 66,7% positive feedback


If a customer wants to go further into detail about the store, they can visit the store page to find out more in-depth information. This page gives details about feedback, buyer protection and the availability of refund.


You can also click on business information to get the address of the seller. This is important if you run into problems with your order later on.


Screenshot of store page on AliExpress

Screenshot of store page on AliExpress


Anyone who is about to spend money on an item will most likely want to read customer feedback about the product. The process works very much like on any other online marketplace. Once someone has been through the buying process they are invited to give a star rating and leave a comment as part of their review.


Screenshot of Seller Feedack on AliExpress

Screenshot of Seller Feedack on AliExpress

The next step: a test purchase

Once we got a thorough feel for the marketplace’s inner workings, it was time to take our case study to the next level: ordering an actual product. Thanks to our test purchase service, we’re able to get the full picture on the end to end process.


The online store we picked isn’t unusual - there are many others from Italy and other European countries that have a very similar rating. Can they be trusted to deliver a genuine product in the condition advertised?


We ordered a pair of Adidas trainers. There were a number of questions we were looking to answer, including:


  • Is the product genuine?
  • Is the product in good condition?
  • Can we return the product easily?

Our purchase arrives

Once we’ve ordered the product, we received confirmation via email. Soon after, we got the shipping notice, and within the expected timeframe, our trainers arrived.


As you can see from the pictures below, our trainers looked quite authentic.


Front picture of adidas trainers

Front picture of adidas trainers


Picture of the soles of the adidas trainers

Picture of the soles of the adidas trainers


Picture of the inside of the adidas trainers showing the adidas label

Picture of the inside of the adidas trainers showing the adidas label


How long did it take for the product to arrive?

It took the product 3 days to arrive in Germany, just as specified by the seller. Although this would suggest that it did not travel far, there are easy ways to manipulate an item’s location - so much so that eBay has recently made a point of putting in measures to stop this happening on their platform.


We wanted to investigate the origin of the product, because if it had been disguised as an Italian product but in reality had been shipped from China, it would have been a subject to customs tax. The delivery process is part of what we track, because a seller could potentially deliver from another address.

Did we receive a legitimate product?

The product appeared legitimate on the surface and the packaging looked real.


Picture of label of the adidas trainers

Picture of label of the adidas trainers



The short journey of the product indicated that it was indeed sent from Italy. And selling counterfeits there is definitely harder than in China.


Knowing a product’s origin is an important clue when determining whether it is authentic or not.

Did we get any information on the product’s origins?

However, we didn’t receive any written information about where the product was shipped from. It’s quite alarming that there was no return address included in the parcel, and we struggled to find information about the seller. Ideally, we would have been given at least basic information, like their name and the return address.

The refund process

We requested a return and a refund through the AliExpress marketplace system, which went fine. However, it took the seller quite some time - 3 days in total - to settle the agreement for this and even longer to provide us with the return address.


It worked, but evidently, there is still a big gap that AliExpress and its sellers will have to bridge in order to meet standards that were set by more customer-centric marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay.


We will follow the rising volume of European sellers offering their products on AliExpress closely and for sure will keep our blog and you updated.


Screenshot of AliExpress help center

Screenshot of AliExpress help center 


With our test purchase, we proved that sellers from the EU, who are meanwhile entering the AliExpress marketplace, appear trustworthy and seem to sell authentic products. Although, of course, one purchase from one seller can not be representative for purchases and all sellers.


If you fear that your brand’s products might be sold on AliExpress fraudulently, do not hesitate to contact us to talk about your online brand protection. We are here to safeguard your brand and take measures to protect your assets, your revenue, and your customers.