Who shoplifts… in Finland?

| Emma Peltonen

When presenting our solution abroad, several foreigners have asked me amusingly “but there are no shoplifters in Finland…are there?” and I have always replied “yes, there is”. Curious mind wanted to look for some data and the actual profile of shoplifters, so here is what I found out.

Most of the shoplifting occurs during the week, from Monday to Thursday, not on the weekends as one might think. The most popular time is in the afternoon when it’s busy in the store. It’s harder to spot the dishonest customers from the crowd and the security resources might not be properly allocated. [1]

Apparently, the majority of shoplifters are 25-30-year old male. Only in the age groups of 15-18 and over 50, are there more female than male shoplifters. A higher number of young female shoplifters is explained with stealing cosmetics. However, shoplifter ladies of over 50-year-old remains unexplained.[1] The shoplifter profile varies by country. In US, for instance, female shoplifters outnumber men. 9 out of 10 shoplifters are under the age of 30 and the peak shoplifting age is 15. [2] Juvenile there are targeting luxury goods and typically continue their bad habit into adulthood. Shoplifting is most common among the middle class.[3]

In Finland, retail shrinkage was 1.38% in 2014-2015. Doesn’t sound like a lot? Global average is 1.23%. Topping us are only two out of the 24 researched countries; Mexico and the Netherlands. The cost of retail crime on that same year was in US 75.32 (US$ billion) while it was 2.23 billion US dollars in Finland. Sounds like just a fraction? Let’s now but it into perspective. There are 2,571,000 households in Finland while in US there are 122,459,000. Thus, the cost of retail crime per household in Finland is 868.40$ and in US 615.07$.[4]

It is safe to say that yes, there is shoplifting in Finland. What shoplifters here steal? Good meat makes it to the news regularly :) (But mainly clothing and electronics). And just like anywhere else, organized retail crime is a significant part of the deal.

1 ”Vähittäiskaupan varkaushävikki” Petri Mönkkönen 2013, 5-7.
2 http://losspreventionmedia.com/insider/shoplifting-organized-retail-crime/shoplifting-in-fitting-rooms/
3 http://losspreventionmedia.com/insider/shoplifting-organized-retail-crime/juvenile-shoplifting-consequences-according-to-the-research/
4 The Global Retail Theft Barometer 2015.

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