Cash-strapped Irish consumers are buying an increasing number of cheap fake products, bucking a Europe-wide trend.
Sales of these goods were up 20pc here last year. The rest of Europe showed drops of 65-75pc in counterfeit purchases.
Only the UK has surpassed Irish buyers, with a 50pc increase in demand for fakes.
Cigarettes, medicines and beauty products such as hair-straightening lotions were top of the list, along with clothes and diet pills.
The internet has become the chief sales route, with so many fake goods being ordered online that customs are finding it difficult to detect the volume.
Three-quarters of illegal shipments stopped by EU customs officials in 2009 were shipped by post or air.
Internet sales include foodstuffs, toothpastes and medicines, with people ignoring health and safety warnings.
Counterfeiters are concentrating increasingly on sales to individuals rather than dispatching bulky shipments to intermediaries that are expensive to send and could more easily be tracked.
Customs officials noticed an increase in illegal wigs, makeup, shoes and hair-straightening products shipped by post, particularly to Ireland and the UK.
About 65pc of the fake goods are from China. In many cases they are rerouted through other countries to avoid detection.
The EU figures show an increase in medicines coming through the United Arab Emirates, toys and games coming through Egypt, and foodstuffs and drinks through Turkey
EU statistics show that across Europe goods seized were down by 65pc last year. Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain showed a drop of about 75pc in the number of items seized by customs.
Experts interpret this as a clear indication of a drop in the actual number of goods being ordered by consumers.
In Ireland and the UK, however, the figures were up 20pc and 50pc respectively.