UK parcel theft levels rocket

ACCORDING TO the first global report on parcel theft commissioned by Penn Elcom and sponsored by Scurri (a specialist in the field of delivery management platforms for eCommerce retailers), more than eight million parcels were either stolen or lost between May 2021 and April 2022, with the UK exhibiting the largest increase in missing parcels compared to other nations.

Produced in conjunction with British research group YouGov, the report states that the UK has witnessed a 5% rise in such theft across the last 12 months, with customers suffering from £320 million in missing goods.

The survey highlights that close to one-in-ten individuals across the world said they had experienced at least one parcel being lost or stolen between May 2021 and April this year. That amounts to a staggering 1.009 billion packages globally at a total cost of £33.6 billion.

The survey has revealed that the world experienced an all-time high of stolen or lost parcels, with an estimated global rise of 155 million compared to the previous 12-month period, despite initiatives being put in place to tackle the surge since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure represents upwards of a 2% increase.

Blanket increase

UK residents have reported a blanket increase in parcel problems across the nation since the previous 12-month period, with 12% of people reporting a parcel lost or stolen. That’s up from 7% between May 2020 and April 2021. Regional results for parcel problems include the following:

*four times more parcel thefts and losses in Wales than during the previous 12-month period (up from 4% to 16%, in fact), making Wales the worst affected area in the UK

*double the amount of parcel thefts and loss year on year in Scotland (up 6% to 12%), the Midlands (up from 6% to 12%) and the East (up from 5% to 10%)

*6% higher rate of overall parcel thefts and loss in the South West compared to the national average (38% parcel issues across respondents’ lifetimes)

The Penn Elcom Parcel Theft Report also reveals that a staggering 32% of individuals surveyed in the UK have had a package lost or stolen in their lifetime, which amounts to 21.5 million parcels. That figure is “expected to rise” unless preventive measures are put in place. Full-time workers appear to be the most ‘at-risk’ group for incidents.

When it comes to how UK residents feel about (and respond to) increasing parcel problems, deeper trends are appearing. Of the 17% of Britons who are anxious about parcel theft, 60% are women. However, the ratios are reversed when it comes to researching potential solutions, with 60% of respondents who have investigated parcel theft prevention products being male.

Overall, 7.4 million people in the UK harbour fears that the parcels they send and receive are at risk of being stolen. A stark four million UK shoppers say this concern is enough to make them reluctant to shop online.

Penn Elcom’s chair Roger Willems explained: “A surge in online shopping accelerated by COVID-19, along with seasonal rushes, means couriers are under intense pressure to deliver parcels quickly. Professional thieves are known to follow delivery vans, stealing packages minutes after they are dropped off, while opportunistic thieves take advantage of parcels being left on doorsteps.”

Global parcel loss and theft

According to the Penn Elcom Parcel Theft Report, the UK saw the largest increase in parcel theft and loss between May 2021 and April 2022. Australia is second nationally (at 3%) and Canada has witnessed a 2% rise, followed by a 1% rise in the US and the UAE.

According to Google Trends data, searches globally for ‘parcel theft’ have rocketed in recent months as shoppers continue to order online. Despite e-commerce surging, however, the study finds that one-in-ten people around the world are now reluctant to shop online because of fear of theft, with retailers losing out on potential customers.

Gavin Murphy, CMO of Scurri, stated: “When parcel delivery fails at the final hurdle, the customer experience fails expectations and those customers may be discouraged from buying online again from that retailer. Real-time data is critical. Simply stating that a package has been dispatched or is on board a delivery vehicle is totally inadequate.”

Murphy continued: “Most customers now anticipate a specific day or time for their deliveries, but for this to happen, friction has to be removed by seamlessly connecting all aspects of the order, shipping and delivery process and systems. This can minimise the risks of those incidents where packages are stolen.”

Roger Willems noted: “If measures are not taken on a global scale, we expect ‘parcel piracy’ to continue to rise as the number of global parcel deliveries increases. We are doing our best to help delivery companies and drivers, who are under extreme pressure, and to save online shoppers the headache of waiting at home for parcel deliveries, rearranging missed deliveries and traipsing to parcel depots, as well as the heartache associated with lost and stolen goods.”

Restoring confidence

Penn Elcom has been campaigning to restore confidence in online shopping and has come up with its own solution. The Penn Parcel Box, made from top quality British steel and designed using Penn Elcom’s decades of steel engineering expertise, is a secure weatherproof solution for parcel deliveries for domestic and business customers.

The Penn Parcel Box was developed in response to enquiries from customers who had problems with parcels going missing. “We have both engineering and manufacturing expertise, so when customers present us with a new challenge, we have the skills in-house to develop a solution for them,” said Rob Platt, Penn Elcom’s sales and marketing director. “In fact, most of our innovations are in direct response to customer demand.”

*For the study, YouGov surveyed 2,000 random consumers based in each market of the UK, the US, the UAE, Canada and Australia. Representative of the demographics of each country, 50% of all respondents were male and 50% female, ranging in age from 18-55 and above. The survey procedure was conducted in May this year

**Further information is available online by visiting the Penn Elcom website

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