Calculating how much lost valuables add up to

Just how much do our lost valuables add up to?

Firstly, my local community has around 25,000 people which a local Facebook group caters for. Given they have 10,000 members, that equates to around 40% of all the people in my local community. That sort of makes sense as the remainder will be young children, those without a Facebook account and those who choose not to join the group. Yes, amazingly, there are still people without a Facebook account and in a way I commend them, but that's a discussion for another day.

Stay with me... Now about every other day, someone asks the group to publish a post about a missing item that they've found. Every year, that equates to about 182 posts. That's 182 missing items reported found in one local community group. Related to the number of members in the group, that equates to around 1.8%.

What about the wider picture?

Still with me and following? It's estimated that there are approximately 42 million UK Facebook users*. If we use the same mathematical relationship between the number of members of my community group and the total population of the local community (40%), that equates to 16.8 million people. And if we assume that out of those 16.8 million, 1.8% will report missing items, then that's a staggering 302,400 lost items a year being reported on Facebook alone.

If we make the assumption that at least 50% of those items will be recovered by their owners, that still leaves 151,200 items that never get recovered. Now those items either get dumped, thrown away, left to rot or kept by the people finding them. If the average cost of each of those items was just £10 (bearing in mind some will be very valuable like mobile phones and jewellery), that's a whopping £1.5m worth of valuables lost each year. And my calculations are very conservative. They don't even take into consideration items that go missing and aren't reported or are reported on other social media platforms and through other means. I wouldn't be surprised if the actual value of unclaimed missing items in the UK is significantly higher than this. Maybe I should find out?... Keep reading...

Here's where if gets really exciting

According to some information I've read, the average person will fork out about £4000 in a lifetime replacing items/valuables they have lost. If the average life expectancy of a person in the UK is just over 80 years of age, for each year of a persons life, they will spend £50 replacing lost items. Obviously some years will be worse than others and this £50 is an average over their lifetime.

Stay with me just one last time because here's where it gets really exciting... Now the population of the UK is around 67 million (in 2019). If each of those people spent on average £50 a year replacing lost possessions, that's a staggering £3,350,000,000 each year (3.35 billion pounds!).

£3,350,000,000

That's remarkable and totally mind blowing.

So somewhere, each year, there are over 3.35 billion pounds worth of unclaimed lost valuables. The question is where are they? I guess a lot of that isn't unclaimed as such as a percentage of those finding lost items will end up keeping them, claiming them from the police or giving them away, but surely there is still a vast value of items that just disappear?

When I stumbled across iFoundThis, I had to write this blog as I was really impressed with what the service does. I know that in my time, I've lost numerous items that I've never got back and having some means to increase my chances of getting something back is definitely a bonus.

I highly recommend signing up with iFoundThis - let's all help claim back some of that 3.3 billion pounds that goes missing each year.

Written by
20th Sep 2019
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