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Global Retail Theft Barometer report - 2014-2015

Posted by Altum Retail on

The GRTB —Global Retail Theft Barometer— is a study on the cost of shrinkage for the global retail industry. Apart from providing shrinkage trends at the global and regional levels, this year’s report also provides country level trends for 11 select countries, out of the 24 countries covered in the research.

The objective of this report is to understand shrinkage rates in four key regions, covering 24 countries, as well as the reasons for shrinkage and steps taken to prevent such loss.

Key data points provided are as follows:

  • Average rate of shrinkage (in percentage terms) for the retail industry
  • Reasons for shrinkage: % internal theft, external theft, vendor theft, and administrative factors
  • Popular loss prevention solutions

Based on responses from common respondents, who participated in both surveys during 2013–2014 and 2014–2015, the global shrinkage increased from 0.94% during 2013-2014 to 1.42% during 2014-2015.


Products such as batteries, mobile accessories, and makeup products—that are easy to conceal, have a wide public appeal, and a ready market for resale—are major attractions for thieves.

Other frequently stolen products include wines and spirits, footwear, tobacco, fresh meat, and perfumes. In the electronics category, mobile phones and accessories were the most stolen items across all the regions except Latin America, where iPhone/smartphones topped the list.


During 2014–2015, some of the most frequently used loss prevention techniques at the store level included CCTV/DVR (76%), security guards (61%), and alarm monitoring (60%). 80% of the retailers (who used security guards) used unarmed guards, while the remaining used both—armed and unarmed.


Unlike retail shrinkage—which also accounts for administrative errors, such as accounting and pricing mistakes—the cost of retail theft/crime only considers intentional crimes committed by dishonest employees, shoplifters, and fraudulent suppliers, along with the cost of loss prevention. The cost of retail crime for the global retailers was valued at $214.30 billion during 2014–2015. Based on the data from common respondents, the cost of retail theft/ crime increased from 1.60% of the total sales during 2013–2014 to 1.85% during 2014–2015, globally. This was primarily driven by the rise in retail crime, partially offset by decline in the global loss prevention spend. Europe was the only region that witnessed a fall in cost of retail theft/crime, which was driven by fall in shrinkage and spend on loss prevention solutions.

Download report here

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