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Ecommerce sites depend on holiday online traffic to deliver shoppers each year, and 2023 was no exception.

Ecommerce sites depend on holiday online traffic to deliver shoppers each year, and 2023 was no exception. In fact, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales delivered surprises to the upside for retailers and analysts alike in November.

Early results showed notable sales spikes in apparel, appliances, toys, and elsewhere. Now, we know a little more about who was doing that holiday shopping, thanks to the latest holiday online traffic numbers.

Online sales alone reached $38 billion for the Cyber 5, growing 7.8% over results on the same time frame in 2022, according to Adobe Analytics. New data shows who visited ecommerce sites in November, as well as which categories they browsed.

“As the gift-buying season ramps up, an influx of new customers who are unfamiliar with your products can flood into your sites,” said James Risley, research data manager and a senior analyst at Digital Commerce 360 who compiled the new results. “It’s important for retailers to market to those shoppers in addition to their usual clients, making sure it’s easy for a new buyer to find the right products to give to loved ones.”

Those challenges and opportunities exist across sectors with unique circumstances by category.


“Fashion sites may need to expose more sizing information while electronics retailers can offer tools for checking compatibility,” Risley said. “These kinds of improvements can help retailers make the sale without a helpful salesperson to guide them like a shopper may find in stores.”

What young shoppers looked at

The 25–34-year-old cohort accounted for an outsized share of online shoppers in November, compared to June, according to Digital Commerce 360 analysis of Similarweb data for Top 1000 retailers. That group was responsible for 25.0% of visits to these companies’ sites in November, as compared with 23.8% in June. 18–24-year-olds also rose in representation, going to 19.9% in November from 18.8% in June.

By contrast, older shoppers fell in their share of ecommerce website visits, with those aged 65 years and older responsible for 7.5% of visits to Top 1000 retailers in November, down from 8.1% in June. 55–64-year-olds saw a smaller drop to 12.0% from 12.6%, with 45-54-year-olds going to 15.4% from 15.8%.


These Gen Z and Millennial shoppers made their presence known at apparel retailers, occupying the largest shares of visitors in those categories. 25–34-year-olds made 26.0% of the visits to apparel and accessories sites in November, up from 25.1% in June. Their gained share, along with a one percentage point greater share for 18–24-year-olds came as 55–64-year-olds and 45–54-year-olds each dropped a percentage point in their shares.

25–34-year-olds and 35–44-year-olds also rose in importance for online electronics retailers, with the prior going to 27.3% from 25.6% and the latter going to 22.2% from 20.9% in November.

The toy sector saw a different shift, however, with all groups aged 35 years or older occupying larger shares of visits in November than in June. Everyone younger saw their shares drop.


Online holiday shopping by gender

The online shopping cohort in November was substantially more female than it was in June. 53.7% of visits came from female shoppers during the holiday shopping month, up from 52.5% in June.

That activity could be seen in the toy sector, where the share of traffic from female visitors was 14.2% higher toward the end of the year.

Female shoppers also grew their shares by noteworthy margins on sporting goods (up 5.2%), electronics (up 4.7%) and flowers and gifts sites (3.2%). The only categories where male shoppers saw their shares increase by more than 1% were office supplies (up 6.1%), housewares (up 2.8%) and apparel and accessories (up 2.7%), though they also saw small share increases on hardware and home improvement (up 0.8%), food and beverage (up 0.2%) and mass merchant (up 0.2%) sites.


Most popular categories for online holiday shopping

The season’s biggest spike in web traffic occurred in jewelry, where activity was up 51.4% over June numbers, showing that many consumers waited until Thanksgiving and Christmas to find rings and necklaces. Other large and seasonably appropriate rises in site visits occurred for flowers and gifts (up 48.5%), apparel and accessories (46.8%) and toys and hobbies (up 30.5%) sites.

The only seasonal category drop-offs in site traffic could be seen in hardware and home improvement (down 10.0%) and automotive parts and accessories (down 8.1%), showing that some practical concerns took a back seat while gift-buying took priority for many households.

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