Retail Theft Is On The Rise
In the USA, for 2018, the summary breakdown for retail theft was in the following areas.
- Shoplifting loses is now a staggering $50.6 billion dollars a year.
- Return fraud is an estimated $15 billion a year.
- Gift card fraud is an estimated $5 billion a year.
The NFR (National Retail Federation) 2018 survey of over 500 Major retailers returned some significant numbers, and 2019 is expected to have an even higher increase. Some notable highlights are:
Survey respondents indicated that 91.6% had been victims of ORC (Organized Retail Crime) during the year.
Areas where the most fraud is occurring:
- In-Store Only Sales: 42.9%
- Online Only Sales: 30.2%
- Multi-channel Sales( i.e. buy online, pickup in-store): 22.2%
In 2018, ORC represented $777,877 for every $1 billion in retail sales.
Thefts coalesced into the following areas:
- Ease of Theft/resale ability: Ease of the ability to steal products and ease of being able to resell it via multiple channels, including online and social media.
- Gift Cards: Ease of theft and internal policies that make using or reselling the Gift Cards easier.
- Laws: Raised thresholds for what classifies and felony theft, and stores being unwilling to prosecute offenders.
- Lowered defenses: Inability to do anything due to staff shortages, or internal “do nothing” policies, and lowered supply chain security.
- Product: Brand names and/or high demand products that can easily be resold. – Here’s a list of some of the most common items stolen:
- Designer clothes
- Laundry detergent
- Infant formula
- Designer handbags
- Denim pants
- High-end Liquor
- Teeth whitening strips
- Cell phones
- Tools (Power Tools and Kits, hand tools)
- Video Games and accessories
- Portable Generators
- Power lawn/yard equipment
- Plumbing parts and accessories
Most retailers are planning to increase spending to combat crime in the following areas:
Estimates for 2019:
- Burglar Alarms: 92.1%
- Digital Video Recorders: 84.%
- Armored Car Deposit Pickups: 68.3%
- POS data mining: 65.1%
- Live customer visible CCTV: 61.9%
Some retailers have opted to simply let the thieves go, documenting the theft, and then later filing insurance claims for the losses.
The major issue with these non-responsive methods is that it only further emboldens the thieves.
The bottom line here is that ultimately the retail consumer pays for all of this in the form of increased prices.
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