Crime is weighing heavily on retailers and manufacturers indicating a need for improved security and more electronic tagging and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The cost to retailers of stock lost from crime and waste is estimated to be $98.6bn worldwide with shoplifting and employee theft accounting for $41.5bn and $34.6bn respectively, according to a global survey conducted by the Center for Retail Research. Retailers end up sharing the burden of crime with manufacturers and consumers. The survey of 820 global retailers operating 138, 603 outlets suggested that the crime pattern in North America differed slightly to that in the rest of the world. Employees rather than consumers were most likely to be guilty of shoplifting in both the US and Canada while the opposite was true in Asia and Europe. North American shoplifters target beauty enhancing products with cosmetics and skincare topping the list of stolen products. Ladies clothing followed in second place and perfumes and fine fragrances took the third spot on the podium of most frequently stolen merchandise. In contrast, alcohol was preferred by European and Asian shoplifters, topping the list for both continents. The problem of retail crime and waste is referred to as shrink by security experts and Checkpoint Systems, which sponsored the survey and supplies 'retail shrink management solutions', is calling on industry players to react to the security problem. "The phenomenon of shrink must be taken seriously in the context of a global economy," said Checkpoint Systems' CEO George Off. "Shrink cost has an immediate impact on the margins of the global retail industry." The company expects large retailers to respond to security issues by investing in source tag technology. Currently, 45.2 percent of North American retailers use tags but it expects the figure to increase to 69.3 percent by the end of the decade. Increasingly retailers and manufacturers are turning to radio frequency identification (RFID) to trace products through the production line and into stores. Wal-Mart recently expanded its use of the technology, which helps companies increase awareness of shoplifting hotspots and solve security problems, as well as improving stock management.