Black Friday bargain hunters urged to protect online orders as parcel theft rockets

22 November, 22
Online shoppers taking advantage of Black Friday discounts are being urged to protect their packages from porch pirates as the first global report on parcel theft reveals that the UK has suffered the biggest increase in the rate of stolen and missing packages – with the cost-of-living crisis expected to make this even worse.

Online shoppers taking advantage of Black Friday discounts are being urged to protect their packages from porch pirates as the first global report on parcel theft reveals that the UK has suffered the biggest increase in the rate of stolen and missing packages – with the cost-of-living crisis expected to make this even worse.

The Global Parcel Theft Report 2022 created by Penn Elcom and in partnership with Scurri shows that 12% of people in the UK reported a parcel lost or stolen between May 2021 and April 2022 – up 5% on the previous 12 months. That amounts to more than eight million parcels1, costing UK customers £320 million2 in missing goods.

“With everyone’s budgets stretched more than ever this year, the findings of our report are a wake-up call for online shoppers who want to avoid heartache this Black Friday and when buying online gifts for their loved ones this Christmas,” warns Roger Willems, chairman of Penn Elcom.

“Unfortunately, the cost-of-living crisis means we can expect opportunistic porch piracy to increase this winter, so shoppers who want to be sure of receiving their purchases would be wise to take precautions,” advises Andy Perrott, a former Detective Inspector with the Metropolitan Police and now a lecturer in policing at Brunel University.

“Everyone wants the convenience of delivery to their home, but if you don’t have somewhere couriers can leave parcels securely out of sight, opting for a Pick Up Drop Off location will ensure your packages aren’t easy pickings on your doorstep,” suggests Willems.

The Penn Elcom Global Parcel Theft Report 2022 found that:

– UK has largest increase of parcels stolen or lost (5%), followed by Australia (3%), Canada (2%), United States (1%) and the UAE (1%)

– Wales becomes the worst-affected area in the UK

– One third of UK residents reported concerns around sending or receiving parcels due to loss/theft (36%)

– 32% of people surveyed in the UK have had a package lost or stolen in their lifetime, which amounts to 21.5 million1 parcels

– 4 million1 UK shoppers say their concerns about parcel security make them reluctant to shop online

– Globally, close to one in ten people said they had at least one parcel lost or stolen from May 2021 to April 2022, amounting to a staggering 1.009 billion packages1, at a total cost of £33.6 billion2 – more than a 2% increase on the previous 12 months.

The report, commissioned by Penn Elcom, a globally recognised British steel manufacturer and producer of the Penn Parcel Box, and sponsored exclusively by Scurri, the leading delivery management platform for eCommerce retailers, was produced by international research group YouGov.

17% of Brits say they are anxious about parcel theft, with 60% of these being women. However, 60% of respondents who have investigated parcel theft prevention products are men. Overall, 7.4 million1 people in the UK have fears that the parcels they send and receive are at risk of being stolen.

Regional results for parcel problems include:

– Four times more parcel thefts and loss in Wales from the previous 12-month period– up from 4% to 16% – 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%)
– 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)

Commercial implications

Despite e-commerce surging, the study found 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.

Penn Elcom’s chairman, Roger Willems, said: “We need to address this to reduce heart ache for consumers, improve efficiencies for couriers and retailers whose margins are being squeezed by the economic downturn and rising costs, and reduce the impact on the environment – each failed first delivery and parcel that has to be replaced means more C02 emissions.

“Secure parcel boxes are a great option for households that want to ensure they receive their deliveries safely, but we also need joined-up solutions from retailers and logistics firms, for example more Pick UP Drop Off options for those for whom secure home delivery solutions aren’t suitable. The construction industry also needs to make sure new houses, apartments and commercial buildings are designed for how we live today.”

Rory O’Connor, CEO of Scurri, said: “We should continue to innovate in supporting the full customer experience, including safety of purchase and delivery to ensure a customer is not left disheartened.”

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 quality British steel and designed using Penn Elcom’s decades of steel engineering expertise, is a secure weatherproof solution for parcel deliveries for homes and businesses.

Leading British research group YouGov surveyed samples of 2,000 random consumers in each market of the UK, US, the UAE, Canada and Australia. Representative of the demographics of each country, 50% were male and 50% female, ranging in age from 18-55 and above. The survey was conducted in May 2022.

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