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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More and more shoppers are getting their Christmas gifts delivered to their homes with just a click — but that comes with consequences.

The big picture: Around a quarter of Americans had packages stolen from their doorsteps last year. As online shopping keeps growing, the holidays have turned into a windfall for porch pirates.

By the numbers:

  • Holiday shopping online is becoming the norm. This past Cyber Monday was Amazon's biggest sales day in history. And FedEx delivered a record-breaking 33 million packages that day. UPS planned on shipping 32 million parcels each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to Transport Topics.
  • At the same time, Google searches from “stolen package” have been steadily growing over the past decade, according to Google Trends data. Searches spike every December.
  • More than 90,000 packages are stolen every day in New York City, and 1.7 million packages throughout the country are stolen or go missing each day, per the New York Times.
  • An average of 26.2 packages per person are stolen in North Dakota — the highest package theft rate of any state, followed by Vermont, Alaska or New Mexico, according to a 2017 study by video security company Blink.
  • The average value of a stolen package in 2017 was $140, per research from Ring, Amazon’s doorstep surveillance company, as reported by Bloomberg.

Stolen parcels might make for a blue Christmas, but there are a host of hidden costs that come with the holiday online shopping rush. Retailers’ warehouse workers and drivers are up against extremely demanding workloads to get the orders out on time.

  • And there’s a steep environmental cost that comes with the planes, trucks and energy-draining warehouses it takes to ship gifts all over the country and world

What to watch: The thefts are creating new business opportunities for tech giants and startups alike.

  • Amazon advertises its entire smart home apparatus — including Ring — as a way to prevent thefts. One Axion even bought his mother a Ring doorbell as a Christmas present. (Although Ring has recently come under fire after its cameras were hacked by strangers who would speak to customers, their dogs or children.)
  • Amazon has also invested in lockers for package safekeeping.
  • And the thefts are giving rise to new startups aiming to help solve the problem, such as Pickups or Latch.

The bottom line: Santa might have been onto something with chimney delivery.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
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Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

3 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.