How Many Packages Get Lost in the US Everyday?

Unfortunately, the sheer volume of online shopping has created a target-rich environment for package thieves and logistical mishaps. How many packages go missing in the US every day? Estimates vary, but according to a 2023 report by, 1.7 million packages are lost or stolen in the United States every day [1], and over 620 million packages disappear annually.

Further research by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2020 suggests a similar scale, estimating 1.7 million packages lost or stolen daily.

While specific breakdowns by delivery service are difficult to obtain, all major carriers experience some level of package loss.

The issue also appears to have a seasonal trend. Studies indicate a rise in missing packages during peak shopping seasons like the holidays when delivery volumes surge.

How Packages Get Lost:

There are three main culprits responsible for lost packages:

  • Theft: This is a major concern, particularly with the rise of "porch pirates" who steal packages left unattended on doorsteps. Opportunistic thieves may also target deliveries in apartment buildings or unsecured lobbies.
  • Delivery Errors: Mistakes occur during the complex sorting and scanning processes within vast delivery networks. Misdirected packages can lead to delays or even complete disappearance within the system.
  • Damage: Packages can be damaged during transit, especially improperly packed or handled roughly. Severely damaged items may be deemed undeliverable and lost within the carrier's system.

How Often Packages Get Lost:

While an exact figure is elusive, the numbers paint a concerning picture. Here's what we know:

  • Daily Disappearances: As mentioned earlier, estimates suggest that 1.7 million packages go missing in the US daily.
  • Seasonal Trends: Studies indicate a rise in missing packages during peak shopping seasons like the holidays when delivery volumes surge [2]. This suggests a correlation between increased package flow and logistical strain.

It's important to note that specific breakdowns by delivery service are difficult to obtain. However, all major carriers experience some level of package loss.

By understanding these causes and the scale of the problem, you can be proactive and take steps to minimize the risk of missing deliveries.

How to Prevent Lost Packages

Knowing how and how often packages go missing, we can now focus on solutions. Here are some effective strategies to significantly reduce the risk of losing your deliveries:

Delivery Management:

  • Track and Trace: Sign up for delivery alerts offered by most carriers. These notifications will inform you about the package's progress and estimated arrival time.
  • Proactive Tracking: Don't just wait for alerts. Regularly check the tracking information the shipper or retailer provides to stay updated on your package's location.
  • Signature Upon Delivery: If the option is available, consider requiring a signature for delivery. This ensures someone is present to receive the package, minimizing the chance of porch pirates or theft.

Safe Delivery Options:

  • Alternative Delivery Locations: Utilize delivery lockers or pick-up points some carriers or retailers offer. These secure locations allow you to collect your package at your convenience.
  • Workplace Delivery: Consider having your packages delivered there if your workplace allows it. This eliminates the risk of them sitting unattended on your doorstep.
  • Smart Lockboxes: Invest in a smart lockbox for your home. These secure containers allow couriers to deposit packages safely, even when you're not there.

Communication is Key:

  • Neighborly Watch: Inform trusted neighbors about upcoming deliveries if you'll be away when they arrive. They can watch out for the package and hold it until you return.
  • Specific Delivery Instructions: When placing online orders, consider requesting specific delivery instructions from the seller. You can specify a preferred time window or a safe location for the package to be left.

By implementing these strategies, you can take control of your deliveries and significantly reduce the risk of them becoming another statistic in the world of missing packages.

What to Do When the Package Goes Missing:

Even with the best precautions, there's always a chance a package might go missing. Here's what to do if you find yourself in this situation:

  • Act Quickly: Don't wait! The sooner you report the missing package, the better your chances of recovering it.
  • Contact the Seller or Shipper: They may be able to track the package down or offer a replacement or refund.
  • File a Claim with the Delivery Service: Each carrier has a process for reporting lost packages. Be prepared to provide your tracking number and any other relevant details about the shipment.
  • Gather Evidence: Keep copies of your order confirmation, tracking information, and any communication with the seller or carrier. This documentation will be helpful if you need to file a claim or dispute.

Here are some additional resources that may be helpful:

Following these steps and keeping detailed records can increase your chances of resolving the issue and reclaiming your missing package.