Is crime hurting in-store or online sales more?

Concern about crime is causing more than a third of consumers to change their shopping behaviors.

Consumers are unequivocal: crime at stores and malls is a growing concern. 41% are more concerned than they were a year ago, while nearly half (47%) are equally as concerned as they were in 2020. Unsurprisingly for those who got pepper spray for Christmas from parents or older relatives, older generations are more concerned than their younger counterparts.

Political perceptions of crime

Let’s address the elephant in the room: perception of crime is both personal and political. Our BOXpoll data shows self-identified conservatives are the most likely to be on even higher alert than last year (49%), significant numbers of moderates (41%) and liberals (36%) have the same concerns.

But what are you going to do about it?

Fear of crime has pushed nearly one-third of all consumers to shop more online, and an additional 12% to shop less overall. However, retailers can take some consolation: though many shoppers are concerned about crime, almost half say they haven’t changed their shopping behavior.

Not just retail crime

To look at the issue of crime from a broader lens, we decided to gauge consumer concern around crime related to online shopping. So we asked about porch piracy—a topic we first started covering more than a year ago.

  • 54% of consumers say porch piracy is a bigger problem than 2020—a 9pp increase from consumer responses the previous year.
  • However, only 14% have personally experienced porch piracy in the last 12 months—down from 19% in 2020.
  • As a result, the impact on shopping behaviors isn’t as dramatic as in-store crime; only 18% of consumers say they’re shopping more in-store because of porch piracy (and an additional 16% say they’re shopping less overall).


The ultimate show-down: retail criminals vs. porch pirates

When comparing crime in-store versus crime at-home (or on-porch), the results are clear: consumers say store/mall-based crime has a bigger impact on where they shop—by at least a 10pp margin within any given age group.

  • 38% said store-based crime has the greatest impact, while only 18% said porch piracy had the greatest impact—good news for online retailers.
  • Clearly, part of this trend is driven by consumers feeling they can better control (or at least mitigate) porch piracy by installing video doorbells (26%), picking up packages at another location like a PO box or locker (19%)—or even keeping watch outside their window for deliveries (40%).
  • It’s also important to note that 44% of all shoppers (and almost half of Gen Zers) aren’t worried about either porch piracy or crime at retail stores. Keep calm and consumer on.

BOXpoll™ by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture,and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult //2094 US consumers surveyed January 2022.© Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc.

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