Retail Theft Statistics (23 Interesting Facts, Trends + Statistics)

Retail theft is a massive problem for most retail stores, especially with the invention of the U-scan, but do you know just how bad retail theft is? Are you looking for some retail theft facts?

I have been looking into this topic and found a lot of useful and interesting information that I wanted to share with you, so keep reading to learn all about it!

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Retail Theft Statistics In 2022

  • Organized Retail Crime costs retailers $30 billion a year 
  • Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, and Dallas are the highest cities for retail crime
  • 25% of retail theft is kids while 75% are adults
  • Winter is the biggest retail theft season 
  • Retailers that use facial recognition software saw a 34% decrease in retail theft
  • 60% of shoplifters went inside 2 different locations of the same retail chain
  • 47% of high schoolers admit to shoplifting within the past year 
  • Shrinking inventory costs the retail industry about $46.8 billion
  • 36.5% of inventory shrinkage are organized crime and shoplifting 
  • $559 is the average loss of a retail theft

Do you have other questions or want to see the complete list of retail theft statistics? If so, keep on reading because I have so much more information to share with you!

1. Organized Retail Crime Costs Retailers $30 Billion Each Year

Organized retail crime is becoming a huge problem, and it’s costing retailers about $30 billion each year, with 71% of all retailers seeing an increase in this type of retail theft.

Additionally, organized retail crime has hit over 91% of the companies surveyed at least once within the past year.

2. The Highest Retail Crime Occurs In Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, & Dallas

One interesting retail theft statistic is that Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, and Dallas are the top five cities in America where shoplifting occurs.

In addition, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Phoenix round out the top ten cities that experience the most retail theft.

3. 25% Of All Retail Theft Are Kids & 75% Are Adults

A majority of retail theft is caused by adults, with 75% of all shoplifters being over the age of 18, while only 25% of those shoplifting are juveniles.

4. Winter Is The Biggest Season For Retail Theft

An interesting trend in retail theft is that winter is the biggest season for theft, with 81% of retail theft during this season occurring around the holidays.

5. Facial Recognition Decreases Retail Theft By 34%

Retailers that have used facial recognition software saw a 34% decrease in retail theft, showing that investing in facial recognition software will benefit a retail store long-term.

Therefore, if more retailers invest in facial recognition, it could lead to a significant decrease in retail thefts.

6. 60% Of All Shoplifters Visited 2 Locations Of The Same Retailer

A weird retail theft fact is that 60% of all shoplifters had visited two locations of the same retailer, which means they were casing locations to see which one would be easier to steal from.

7. 47% Of All High Schoolers Admit To Shoplifting Within The Past 12 Months

An alarming retail theft fact is that 47% of high schoolers have admitted to shoplifting within the past 12 months, and that’s a trend everyone hopes doesn’t continue!

8. Inventory Shrinkage Accounts For $46.8 Billion In Retail Industry Loss Each Year

Inventory shrinkage is a huge problem, and it accounts for about $46.8 billion in losses each year for the retail industry.

9. Inventory Shrinkage Occurs Most Often Due To Organized Retail Crime & Shoplifting

Organized retail crime and shoplifting are the leading causes of inventory shrinkage, two huge problems facing America these days.

10. The Average Loss Of A Retail Theft Is $559

10. The Average Loss Of A Retail Theft Is $559

While the average value of retail theft is low, the average loss comes in at $559 on average, which is about four times the value of the item being stolen.

11. 55% Of Adult Shoplifters Began As Teenagers

About 55% of all shoplifters began stealing when they were teenagers, which shows the importance of intervening when teenagers begin stealing, so it doesn’t continue into adulthood.

12. Wednesday To Saturday Are Peak Days For Shoplifting

One really interesting trend in retail theft is that Wednesday to Saturday are the peak times when retail theft is likely to occur.

However, I’m not sure why these particular days are worse for retail theft or if this trend will continue or change.

13. Only 2.9% Of Retail Theft Losses Were Recovered

A sad retail theft statistic is that only 2.9% of retail theft losses were recovered, according to Jack L. Hayes International.

Furthermore, $33.15 was lost due to the retail theft for every $1 recovered, which is an awful situation for the retailer.

14. Aggression During Retail Theft Is More Common

A scary trend in shoplifting is that aggression is being seen more often by retailers, and violence is becoming common during retail thefts.

For example, 31% of retailers said that the offender was more aggressive in 2020 than those they witnessed in 2019, whereas 26% said they were more aggressive.

However, 41% said the aggression level was the same in 2020 as in 2019, but only 2% said the offenders were less aggressive.

15. Daily Loss To Retail Stores Equals $47 Million

Every day, retail stores experience a $47 million loss due to retail theft, which is a number I hope doesn’t increase, but it’s alarming, to say the least.

16. 1 Out 100 Shoplifting Offenders Are Arrested

Only one out of every 100 shoplifters are arrested, and a survey found that about 48% of shoplifters were repeat offenders, showing how lax the justice system has become on retail theft.

Additionally, since 48% of those surveyed were repeat offenders, we can assume that they kept going because they weren’t scared of the consequences because they didn’t get caught.

17. Each Year Over $15 Billion Worth Of Items Are Shoplifted

About $15 billion worth of items are shoplifted each year which is an amazingly high number and shows just how commonplace retail theft has become over the years!

18. The Value Of The Retail Theft Is $125 On Average

While theft is on the rise, the value of thefts occurring is about $125 on average, making retail theft a misdemeanor in most locations throughout the country.

Furthermore, since the theft value is so low, it may take cops a long time to respond to the crime, and they may not even investigate it because it’s not worth their time.

19. Shoplifting Costs American Taxpayers $33.21 Billion A Year

American taxpayers are footing the bill for shoplifting, and every year, it costs taxpayers $33.1 billion, which is about $75,000 per minute in lost revenue.

20. Retail Theft Increasing As Legal System Becomes Laxer

As the legal system in America becomes laxer, retail theft is increasing, and this trend is likely to continue as the justice system lets shoplifters out of jail or doesn’t punish them at all.

Furthermore, since shoplifting is often a misdemeanor, there isn’t much punishment for the crime, and over 35 states have chosen to increase the theft value required for felony offenses.

Therefore, retail theft often has a high reward and low risk associated with it, which is only getting more obvious as people aren’t being punished as often for the crime.

21. There Are More Than 27 Million Known Shoplifters

Did you know that there are more than 27 million known shoplifters, but out of that group, only 3% are professional shoplifters?

Therefore, you can assume that professional shoplifters steal high-dollar items, whereas regular shoplifters steal items worth little value, such as shirts or glasses.

22. Majority Choose To Steal Only Once Entering The Store

One fact about retail theft is that most of the time, it’s not a very premeditated act, as over 72% of kids and 73% of adults say the decision to steal was made while in the store.

However, this could still be considered premeditated legally since the decision was made to steal while in the store since premeditation doesn’t require much forethought.

23. About 5% Of Shoplifters Are Kleptomaniacs

An interesting retail theft statistic is that only 5% of those shoplifting are considered kleptomaniacs, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

Therefore, you can assume that most people committing retail theft know what they are doing, and it’s an impulse decision and not a mental illness.

Is Retail Theft On The Rise?

Retail theft is on the rise, and in New York City, for example, retail theft increased 16% between 2019 and 2021.

Additionally, CVS, in particular, has seen an increase in retail theft by 300% since 2020, which shows just how prevalent theft is in the pharmacy chain.

What Is The Most Shoplifted Item?

Designer clothing is becoming a hot item to steal both from the organized retail crime gangs and just regular smash-and-grab retail thefts.

Furthermore, in states like California, retail thefts are regularly occurring at high-end retailers, and it’s a trend that is likely to continue as California becomes even softer on theft crimes.

Why Are Stores Not Stopping Shoplifting?

Most of the time, the employees are not allowed to stop shoplifters due to store policies that prevent someone from intervening when a theft is happening.

In addition, most employees are told to let the shoplifter take what they want and then report the crime to the police, and employees that have intervened in the past have been fired.

Why Is Shoplifting So Easy?

Shoplifting has become easier as more states ease up on theft offenses, with most thefts being misdemeanors, which often it isn’t even investigated or prosecuted.

However, if someone steals an iPhone, the phone’s value pushes the crime to a felony in a lot of states, so it’s easy to shoplift if you keep the value under either $500 or $950.

Additionally, since most stores aren’t stopping shoplifters, it’s becoming easier to steal and get away with it since only one out of 100 are arrested.

What Are The Two Types Of Shoplifters?

There are two types of shoplifters: either a professional or booster or a snitch, an amateur shoplifter. 

For example, snitches steal items for personal use or use by someone in their household.

In contrast, a booster or professional is stealing from retail stores to resell the item and make money, so they often steal more items or items of a higher value with a better resale opportunity.

Conclusion

There are a lot of interesting retail theft statistics, including that 75% of shoplifters are adults and 25% are juveniles, but 55% of adults that shoplift began as teenagers.

Additionally, only 5% of all shoplifters are considered kleptomaniacs, and only about one in every 100 shoplifters are arrested for their crimes, which is why there are repeat offenders. 

On top of that, shoplifting and organized retail crime are the biggest threats to retailers, with organized retail crime costing the industry $30 billion annually.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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