The 2022 Australia and New Zealand Retail Crime Study is a game-changer for loss prevention specialists and the retail community. The study offers a contemporary academic and statistical analysis of current crime trends. The National Retail Association is proud to be working with subject matter expert Professor Michael Townsley, from Griffith Criminology Institute, who co-produced the study for the Profit Protection Future Forum.  

Below are highlights from the Study to provide valuable industry-specific insights for retailers. 


ANZ Retail Economy: 21-22 FY 

  • AUD 487.5 billion 
  • 184,000 businesses 
  • Rapid growth in online sales (30.5% from 2017-18 to 2 2021-22) 

Cost of Retail Crime: 

The cost of retail crime to ANZ  $ AUD 
External theft  $2,292 million 
External fraud  $612 million 
Total external loss  $2,904 million 
Internal theft  $1,044 million 
Vendor fraud  $350 million 
TOTAL crime-related loss  $4,298 million 


Items Most Stolen: 

Retailer  Top Items Stolen 
Supermarket / Grocery / Convenience 



  1. Fresh meat 
  2. Facial creams 
  3. Tobacco 
Sports and recreation stores 
  1. Sports-related clothing 
  2. Smartwatch/fitness trackers 
  3. Footwear 
  1. Perfumes and fragrances 
  2. Facial creams 
  3. Make-up products 
Hardware Stores 
  1. Power tools 
  2. Non-powered hand tools 
  3. Batteries 
Apparel and fashion 
  1. Denim 
  2. Everyday basics 
  3. Fashion accessories tied with lingerie / intimate apparel 
Department store 
  1. Make-up products 
  2. Perfumes and fragrances 
  3. Sports-related clothing 
  4. Denim 
  5. Facial Creams 
Discount department stores 
  1. Make-up products 
  2. Tablets / iPad 
  3. Sports-related clothing 
  4. Connection devices (e.g. Bluetooth etc) 
  5. Fashion accessories 


Retail Crime Trends: 

External Theft: 

  • 2021-2022 total external theft cost estimate = AUD $2.29 billion 
  • Average external theft incident comprised 2-5 items for an estimated $415. 
  • “The average theft amount has increased significantly; people are being a lot more brazen”. 
  • Commonly opportunistic and amateur thefts. 
  • Use of distraction techniques increase in frequency since 2019. 

Internal Theft: 

  • Less frequent than external but have an average higher value of $1,200. 
  • Most commonly, theft of stock and discounting problems. 


  • Card-not-present (CNP) fraud most common experienced in online retail space. 
  • Refund fraud most common experienced in physical stores.  

Violence and Verbal Abuse: 

  • Discount department stores, sports and recreation stores, and hardware stores consistently reported highest frequency of violent or aggressive behaviour.  
  • Apparel, fashion and pharmacy categories appeared to have not experience much change in frequency of violence and aggression over last 4 years. 
  • Supermarkets and department stores reported increase in violence without injury. 
  • Abuse and aggression increased considerably in discount department stores but declined mostly in supermarkets. 
  • Robbery has seen sustained reductions, shift from armed robbery to unarmed robbery in last 4 years.

To read the full report, click here 

Keep up to date with the latest crime trends, analysis, and academic research from Michael Townsley on LinkedIn, click here. 

By Professor Michael Townsley
Griffith Criminology Institute, for the Profit Protection Future Forum.