The way consumers shop has shifted throughout the course of the pandemic. But as behaviors continue to shift towards ecommerce and online shopping, the threat of package theft looms large in the minds of those shopping online during the 2021 holiday season.
After conducting our 2019 & 2020 Package Theft Statistics Reports, we conducted a new 2021 Package Theft Statistics Report to gain additional insights into how consumers are affected by package thieves or porch pirates. For this 2021 report, we surveyed 2,000 consumers who self-reported that they have shopped online at least once within the last 12 months. They were asked about their experience with delivery theft, as well as preventative measures taken to avoid having a package stolen in the future.
Package Theft Statistics
According to respondents, the overwhelming majority (91%) receive a package delivery at least once per month, with approximately 4 in 10 receiving package deliveries at least weekly.
Given the ongoing reliance on ecommerce during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise that online shopping continued to be a staple for American consumers in 2021 as they spent increasing amounts of time at home.
Package Theft Victims
As we enter one of the busiest times of the year for deliveries, between Thanksgiving and the new year, we see that package theft continues to be an issue for many Americans as about one-quarter (23%) say they have been the victim of package theft so far this year. And, for almost one-third of these folks, it has happened more than once. Even if you are lucky enough to not be a package theft victim, chances are you know someone who is. The study revealed that 60% of people know someone who has had a package stolen during the holiday season.
Package Theft Prevention
Online shoppers are getting savvier when it comes to protecting their online purchases. When asked what steps they take to avoid package theft, over one-quarter (27%) say they have sent their packages to their workplace or a relative’s home, while 42% say they stay at home on days they expect a delivery.
Sentiments about who is responsible for the security of deliveries remain divided. Roughly half of the respondents (49%) believe delivery companies are not doing enough to prevent package theft.
Package Theft and COVID-19
Reliance on online shopping has remained steadfast throughout the pandemic. According to respondents, almost three-quarters (73%) self-report purchasing more items online since the start of the pandemic. But not without some concern.
We found almost half (46%) of respondents are concerned about the eventual theft of their online purchases, while approximately one-third (32%) go so far as to avoid ordering expensive items online out of fear that those deliveries will eventually be stolen.
The most popular method to stay on top of their online shopping is to vigilantly track their orders. The majority of those surveyed (85%) say they track their purchases throughout the delivery process.
Holiday Package Theft
The holiday shopping season is historically one of the most popular times of the year for retailers, and 2021 is no exception. The vast majority of shoppers (92%) plan to shop online and have their purchase delivered to their home this season. However, threats of an overburdened supply chain and increased demands on the country’s shipping infrastructure have some shoppers bracing for impact.
Of those surveyed, almost two-thirds (62%) said they plan on doing their 2021 holiday shopping earlier this year due to supply chain issues and to ensure their purchases arrive on time. Just how early? More than half (55%) will start their holiday shopping in November, while a minority (8%) started shopping in October or earlier.
Overall, consumers plan on increasing the amount of online shopping they do in 2021. Specifically, over one quarter (28%) said they plan on placing more online orders this holiday season. More online orders mean more deliveries, forcing many consumers to face the reality of potential package theft.
Package Theft Prevention
For many consumers, holiday shopping means finding the perfect gift or decoration to make the holidays special. This season, about one-third (32%) of people are worried that those special deliveries could be stolen by porch pirates.
To assure their online deliveries arrive safely and to avoid theft, consumers are taking additional precautions. The top way to avoid package theft in the 2021 holiday season: staying at home. More than half of respondents (57%) plan to stay home to await the arrival of their packages .
Other consumers (40%) have adopted additional security features like a doorbell camera or motion-sensitive lights to deter and catch so-called “porch pirates” who might swipe deliveries.
Regardless of the time of year, it remains critical for consumers to take precautions when ordering items online. Adding security features and staying home for deliveries are some of the best ways to prevent package theft in 2021 and beyond.
For this report, we surveyed 2,000 self-reporting online consumers who have shopped online at least once within the last 12 months via the Prolific survey platform in November 2021. 50% were male, and 50% were female. Respondents skew younger with an average age of 31. 53% reported living in a suburban area, 32% in a city/urban area, and 14% in a rural area. Housing: single-family detached home: 60%; single-family attached home: 11%; apartment (without doorman): 22%; Apartment with doorman: 2%; condo (without doorman): 1%; condo (with doorman): .3%; other: 3%. Note: 74% of respondents were Amazon Prime members. Previous 2019 and 2020 Package Theft Reports were conducted on a different survey platform which did not distribute respondents equally across male and female demographics.