The research also found that retail staff and suppliers are also guilty of stealing from workplace
The study was carried out by the Centre for Retail Research in Britain and showed that Ireland has high levels of shoplifting.
"Certainly for the last two years, Ireland has been at or near the top of the table," Professor Joshua Bamfield told the Irish Independent.
"It's also a difficult economic time for many. So why do they buy things that have 'fallen off the back of a lorry'?
"Well one reason is that they feel if they don't look after themselves then no-one else will."
"Shop lifting follows the same path as demand," Prof Bamfield said. "So just as young people are turning to rum-based drinks, shoplifters are also looking very carefully at that.
"Of course, stealing alcohol is very acceptable to other people. 'Shall I steal three bottles of whiskey or shall I steal an iPad?'
"It's very easy to get rid of the whiskey. You could do it within minutes after you leave the store."
The study predicts that Ireland will lose $53 million to shoplifting this Christmas alone.