Shoplifting investigation finds this type of theft is widespread

More than 40 percent of U.S. adults report stealing merchandise from a store at some point in their lives, according to a recent survey from Express Legal Funding. Conducted with the help of SurveyMonkey, the survey attracted more than 535 consumer participants. The study provides insight into the demographics, motivations and hesitations related to shoplifting behavior.

“With this investigation, we sought to better understand the perspective of the potential shoplifter, and I am confident that we have succeeded in doing so,” said the author and director of fundraising strategy at Express Legal , Aaron Winston.

Some highlights of the investigation:

Overall prevalence

  • 40% of respondents admitted to shoplifting at least once, indicating that shoplifting is a relatively common behavior among Americans.
  • 66% of respondents across all age groups know someone who has shoplifted, indicating that this behavior is widespread across generations.

Gender differences

  • Women steal more than men. 43% of women surveyed said they had ever shoplifted, while only 37% of men said they had ever shoplifted.
  • Women are consistently more likely than men to know someone who has shoplifted, with a difference of about 10% in each region.

Trends by age

  • The likelihood of shoplifting decreases with age, with the 18-24 age group reporting the highest likelihood of shoplifting in the next two years, while the 55 and more has the lowest probability.


  • Financial hardship was the most common and consistently cited primary reason for shoplifting across all demographic groups (52% overall).
  • Thrill-seeking or thrill-seeking while stealing was reported as the main factor in shoplifting by 19% of those surveyed.


  • The most frequently cited reason for hesitancy toward retail theft in all regions is the belief that shoplifting is morally wrong or against their religion (70%), followed by out of fear of getting into trouble with the police.

Click here to learn more about the survey carried out by Express Legal Funding.