The consumer product industry saw its lowest level of activity in the past five years, with only 218 product recall events in 2021. The CPSC announced 47 recalls in the fourth quarter of 2021, which is significantly lower than the volume of quarterly averages observed in 2019 and 2020, and a drop from Q3 2021 as well.
Fourth-quarter product recalls impacted 2.7 million units, representing an 87.5% drop compared to the previous quarter. This is unsurprising given that Q3 saw an atypical recall of toy magnet products that alone accounted for 10 million units. However, in contrast, when looking at total annual units impacted, 2021 experienced a significant uplift on the year previous, more than doubling from 20.1 million units, to 42.8 million units.
After seeing the highest number of quarterly incidents in several years in Q3, the number of product recall events dropped by 91.4% to 544 in the fourth quarter. Injuries also dropped from 150 to 49, though the number of deaths allegedly linked to recalled products rose slightly, from 9 to 10.
The recall of 873,000 bed rails in three separate events led to a bad quarter for Home Furnishings and Décor products. That category had the most incidents, (255), injuries (22) and reported deaths (7). Sports and Recreation and Home Furnishings and Décor products tied for the most impacted product category with 13 recalls, or 28% of the total, each. Home Furnishings and Décor products were also the leading categories of recalled units at 1.4 million (54.7%).