Consumers Rank Top Pet Peeves for Ecommerce Holiday Shopping: Study

New Survey from Contentsquare Finds That More Than Half of Consumers Leave a Brand’s E-Commerce Site When It Loads Too Slowly More Than One-Third of Shoppers Surveyed Reconsider a Purchase at Checkout When a Promotion Doesn’t Work

Consumers revealed their top frustrations for online holiday shopping today in a new survey released by Contentsquare, a global leader in digital experience analytics. The most significant pain points for online shoppers include:

  1. Slow website loading times (20%)
  2. Excessive pop-ups (19%)
  3. Item unavailability (19%)
  4. No quick-purchase checkout options such as Apple Pay or PayPal (17%)
  5. Poor search results (9%) and sites not configured for mobile (tied at 9%)
  6. Promotion didn’t work correctly (8%)

“Ease of shopping and reduced annoyances are critical for online consumers,” said John O’Melia, Chief Customer Officer at Contentsquare. “We’ve seen from internal data that while cart abandonment is lower during the holidays than at other times of the year, the high occurrence of ‘rage clicking’ indicates shoppers are also more frustrated during the holidays, even when shopping online. Retailers that ignore slow loading times, misuse pop-ups, promote out of stock items, and have inconvenient payment options do so at the risk of losing a significant amount of customers and sales.”

Key Reasons for Cart Abandonment During Holiday Shopping

The 2023 consumer study also found that more than half of shoppers surveyed (54%) noted that they would shop elsewhere this holiday season if a brand’s website or app loads too slowly. Interestingly, more than one-third of shoppers also indicated they are likely to reconsider finalizing a holiday purchase when they reach the checkout page if a promotion doesn’t work. No free shipping deterred 25% of consumers surveyed from finalizing their purchase, and 15% left because the checkout page was either too slow or crashed.

Most Compelling Holiday Purchases for Consumers

The luxury vertical will continue to see strong results, with shoppers indicating that they are most excited to purchase luxury items (27%) this holiday season, followed by gift cards (16%), apparel and shoes (15%), electronics (12%), and toys (11%). 

This new consumer data is supported by Contentsquare’s Benchmark 2022 holiday analysis, which showed that shoppers’ online behavior changes significantly during the holiday shopping season compared to the rest of the year. A few notable differences include a 67% increase in traffic daily and a surge in mobile’s share of traffic from 72% to 77%. Bounce rates during peak season–Black Friday/Cyber Monday–drop 30% on desktop and 10.6% on mobile. In addition, shoppers engaged more on websites, but reached purchase decisions more quickly than they do at other times of the year.

Contentsquare’s 2023 holiday consumer survey also found:

  • When and where will consumers shop: Sixty-seven percent (67%) of shoppers surveyed will spend the same or more time holiday shopping this year than last year, and 45% of respondents will start their shopping during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Eighty percent (80%) of shoppers indicated that they will do at least half of their holiday shopping online this year, with 44% of shoppers preferring to shop online on their couch in front of their TV. During the season, almost 60% of consumers surveyed prefer to shop online on the weekdays.
  • Consumers are influenced by experience rather than social media: Social media will be used by 36% of respondents for gift inspiration, with 13% purchasing directly from social channels including TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. However, the power of social media influencers may be waning, as more than two-thirds (69%) of respondents say that recommendations from social media influencers will not affect their holiday purchasing decisions.
  • Experience impacts brand recommendations: More than half of consumers—56%–have recommended websites or apps based on previous positive experiences, and 10% have discouraged others from using apps or websites based on negative experiences.
  • Consumers window shop, but online: More than one-third of shoppers (34%) spend the majority of their time online browsing e-commerce websites or apps, the digital equivalent of window shopping.
  • Mobile site vs. app preferences: Thirty-three percent (33%) of shoppers prefer to shop on a website via their mobile device, while only 13% prefer to shop on a brand’s app.


Contentsquare’s findings are based upon a survey fielded in November 2023, conducted by email, and are based upon samples from 649 consumers located in the United States. The samples were proportionally balanced by gender. Further details on the report are available upon request.

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