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Global parcel theft rose by more than 2% between May 2021 to April 2022 compared with the previous year, with the UK the worst-affected market seeing a rise of 5% – costing an estimated £320m in missing goods, according to parcel box manufacturer Penn Elcom.

Its Parcel Theft Report, in partnership with delivery management platform Scurri, was produced by international research group YouGov. It also found that 1 in 10 people had a parcel lost or stolen during the research period, which amounts to 1.009 billion packages globally at a cost of US$37.9bn.

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

“We expect parcel piracy to continue to rise as global parcel deliveries increase if measures are not taken. We are doing our best to support delivery companies and save online shoppers the headache of missed deliveries – as well as the heartache of lost and stolen parcels.”

According to Google Trends, global searches for ‘parcel theft’ have rocketed as shoppers continue to order online, especially for seasonal holidays. The study found that one in ten people worldwide are also now reluctant to shop due to fear of theft, impacting retailers. While, a third fear that the parcels they send and receive are also at risk of being stolen.

Gavin Murphy, CMO of Scurri, added: “When parcel delivery fails at the final hurdle, the customer experience fails expectations and 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 last mile delivery vehicle is totally inadequate.”

Read more: Clothes, shoes and accessories most stolen delivery items, study finds