In an alarming trend reflecting the financial strain on Australian households, a Finder survey of over 1000 participants exposes a startling reality: 2.4 million Australians, more than 10% of the population, have resorted to shoplifting as a means of coping with the escalating cost-of-living.
The study, released today, sheds light on the desperation of many, showcasing how economic pressures have driven citizens to low-level crimes.
The average monthly grocery bill has surged by seven percent to $740, propelling theft at supermarket checkouts. Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker indicates that five percent of shoppers admit to leaving without paying, while four percent manipulate self-service checkouts to scan items as cheaper alternatives.
Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at Finder, expressed his concerns, stating:
"Aussies are clearly struggling to afford basic necessities, and some are turning to criminal behaviour to get by."
Concurrently, Foodbank Australia's latest report highlights a concerning 36% rise in households battling food insecurity, with 3.7 million families going hungry in the past year.
With the younger generation being particularly vulnerable, urging retailers to address this crisis, Cooke cautioned against criminal actions, advising those in need to turn to food banks rather than risking legal consequences.