Why Do People Shoplift? Here’s How to Catch Them

Why Do People Shoplift

ExecutiveChronicles.com | Why Do People Shoplift? Here’s How to Catch Them | Did you know that on average, goods to the value of $35 million are shoplifted every day in the US?

If you’re a retailer, shoplifting represents a genuine threat to your business.

Why do people shoplift? What is the motivation for it, and can understanding these motivations help you to prevent it?

Read on to learn some of the main reasons for shoplifting, and what you can do to stop it from happening.


One of the most obvious reasons that people shoplift is because they can’t afford the items themselves.

They may be trying to access basic necessities such as food or clothing, or simply stealing in order to sell the items for money.

As a retailer, you may be able to spot people who are suffering from severe poverty by their clothing or physical appearance, but many people in poverty won’t have any visible indications.

Emotional Problems

A surprisingly large number of people steal things that they could easily afford. This is often due to emotional problems.

Some people may suffer from impulse control meaning that they find it hard to resist the temptation to steal. Others may have an addiction to the thrill of shoplifting that they are unable to control. People that suffer from depression may shoplift in the hope that it will make them feel better.

In all of these cases, the shoplifter may not start out with the intention of stealing anything but become tempted to do so when in the store. One of the simplest ways to combat these impulses is to use retail security tags such as Sensormatic tags. When people see that items are tagged, they know that they are far more likely to get caught, and so they are less likely to attempt to shoplift.

Peer Pressure

Another common reason that people shoplift is peer pressure. This is especially true among younger people who may try to encourage their peers to steal something.

The easiest way to catch a shoplifter of this kind is to look for larger groups of young people, who aren’t behaving in the same way as regular shoppers. If they are all sticking in a group rather than wandering around the store then this is a strong sign that they may be shoplifters.

A security guard or security tags are usually the easiest ways to deter these types of shoplifters.

Why Do People Shoplift? Now You Know

Why do people shoplift? It’s not a question with a single answer, but as we’ve seen above there are usually some common reasons why it happens.

The good news is that once you know the main reasons behind shoplifting, you’re better able to prevent it. Prevention is the key, as it’s much better to prevent someone from shoplifting rather than have to catch them in the act. This brings all sorts of time-consuming issues that you’d probably rather not have to deal with.

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