Disappearing deliveries: Brits collectively lose more than £250 million after deliveries go missing

  • 3.6 million Brits estimated to have had packages ordered online go missing in the last year
  • Value of these items is estimated to be £250 million
  • More than 12 million Brits ask for packages not to be left with their neighbours
  • 1.7 million of us either don’t trust or don’t get on with our neighbours

More than £250 million1 worth of online shopping is estimated to have gone missing, or not been delivered to avid shoppers in the UK in the last year, reveals new research from Direct Line Home Insurance2. Despite the majority (89 per cent) of UK adults now shopping online, more than 18 million people3 (41 per cent) have had packages go missing or undelivered in the last five years, worth an average £68 per package.

An unlucky one in five (22 per cent) shoppers have had more than one package go missing in the last five years and an even more unfortunate one in twenty (5 per cent) have had five or more packages undelivered. For one in ten (10 per cent) online shoppers, the average value of their absent package was £300.50.

Reluctance to leave packages with their neighbours could be one reason packages are not being delivered or going missing. In fact, more than 12 million UK adults4 deliberately ask for their packages not to be left with a neighbour.

While many (45 per cent) say this is because they don’t want to burden their neighbour with their packages, others either do not get on with their neighbour (14 per cent) or do not trust their neighbour (14 per cent). More than two million (5 per cent) adults explicitly request that delivery drivers do not leave their precious packages with a specific neighbour they do not trust or get on with.

Nearly 2 million people have had problems leaving packages with neighbours in the past. Incidents include neighbours refusing to take in their packages (8 per cent), neighbours who take in a package but deny they have it (7 per cent) and neighbours who actually refuse to hand the package over (5 per cent).

Table one: Why people ask for packages not to be left with a neighbour

Reason Percentage
I don’t want to burden my neighbour with my packages 45%
My neighbour works and would not be in to collect it 32%
I don’t get on with my neighbour 14%
I don’t trust my neighbour 14%
I have never spoken to / don’t know my neighbour 9%
The package is personal / likely to cause embarrassment 8%
My neighbour refuses to take in my packages 8%
My neighbour has previously taken in a package of mine and denied it 7%
My neighbour has previously refused to give me a package 5%

Source: Direct Line Home Insurance 2016

Young people are less likely to leave packages with their neighbours than older generations.

Double the number of 18-34 year olds who refuse to leave their packages, report not getting on with their neighbours (18 per cent vs 9 per cent) and not trusting their neighbours (22 per cent vs 8 per cent) compared to those aged over 55. One in five (18 per cent) 18-34 year olds report neighbours having previously taken in a package of theirs and denied it.

Rebecca Clapham, head of household product at Direct Line: “People tend to shop online because it’s easier than going to a physical store, yet 18 million people have had their purchases go missing. If you don’t have a neighbour nearby who you trust to take in a package, think of a suitable alternative if you’re not home. Otherwise, delivery drivers may just leave a precious package by the front door, which unfortunately advertises them to opportunistic thieves.”

Notes to editors:

1This figure is based on an estimated even split of packages go missing / are undelivered each year over the last five years.

2Opinium Research interviewed a UK nationally representative sample of 2,011 people, between 17th and 21st June 2016.

3728 out of 2011 have had packages go missing. As a percentage of the population (50,909,000) this equates to 18,429,514.

4496 out of 2011 ask for packages not to be left with neighbours. As a percentage of the population (50,909,000), this equates to 12,556,368 people.

For further information, please contact:


Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 300 7838 or visiting www.directline.com

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