Analyzing industry-specific traffic trends allows digital marketers to build strategies that align with established traffic patterns in their industries, take advantage of overlooked channels, and maximize returns by allocating resources more effectively.
In this report, we examine industry-based traffic distribution data gathered for 2023 using Semrush Open .Trends. Across the report, we’ll look at several industries, including Finance, Healthcare, Retail, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, and Travel, to help you see where these industries are headed in 2024.
Overall, here are the averages for all industries broken down by channel:
Before we get into the fine details of each industry, here are a few key findings.
- The Banking, Finance, and Investment Industries showed levels of Direct traffic significantly higher than overall averages. While most industries showed direct traffic distributions around 60%, the Investment Industry, for example, saw distributions near 74%.
- Healthcare was the only industry where the majority of traffic came through the Organic Search channel. For the Healthcare Industry, Organic Search traffic accounted for a massive 62% of all industry traffic, while Direct made up only 30%.
- Ecommerce-centered industries like Retail, Fashion, and Sporting Goods saw significantly more Paid traffic compared to their counterparts. For example, the Apparel and Fashion industry saw more than 2X the average paid traffic.
With these trends in mind, let’s dig into each of our chosen industries.
Money and Web Traffic: Traffic Trends in the Finance and Banking Industries
When looking at the Banking and Finance industries, we discovered a significant overarching trend in Direct traffic. While the Direct channel leads across industries, these three industries showed higher-than-average results.
The Finance Industry stood out with Direct traffic rates near 73%, nearly 15 percentage points higher than the overall average of 58%.
This trend appears to be holding steady when looking at Finance Industry traffic over the past year. From October 2022 to October 2023, Direct traffic in the Finance Industry has lingered right around 9B.
Looking at the top 5 domains in the Banking Industry, we see this trend playing out in each of their strategies. With some slight variation, Direct is by far the most important channel for all of the leading domains.
While brand loyalty in banking no doubt plays a role in these Direct traffic numbers, the growing popularity of mobile banking and finance apps could also be contributing. In the Banking Industry, the majority of traffic comes from mobile phones for all but one of the top five players.
Where the Banking Industry fell behind the Finance Industry in Direct traffic, it saw higher numbers in Organic Search and Referral traffic.
Compared to the Finance Industry, which saw Organic Search and Referral numbers around 12%, traffic distributions in these channels for the Banking Industry were closer to 16%.
On the Organic Search front, it appears “Banks near me” and “ATM near me” are two of the top searches after filtering for branded keywords, highlighting the importance of local SEO in the industry.
In terms of Referral traffic, Banking sees a distribution rate of 16%, which is double the average of other industries. We looked at Referral Sources for top banks and discovered the majority of the most important Referral sources were merchant payment systems.
Banking also showed some interesting trends when comparing Paid Traffic in the U.S. with Paid Traffic Globally.
The Banking Industry drives twice as much traffic through Paid Search in the U.S. (0.6%) than it does globally (0.3%), and more than twice globally with Display ads (0.11%) compared to the U.S. Display ads (0.05%).
To sum up traffic trends in the Finance and Banking Industries, Direct is by far the most important channel. Notably, mobile banking and finance apps contribute significantly to Direct traffic, highlighting evolving consumer preferences in the industry. Finally, Organic Search and Referral traffic are also key channels for both Industries, with a strong local search strategy remaining key for any business in this sector.
Diagnosing Unique Distributions: Traffic Trends in the Healthcare Industry
The Healthcare Industry was an outlier among all industries with its heavy traffic distribution in the Organic Search Channel. Overall, only 30% of traffic to the industry comes directlyto domains, which is less than half that of all other industries. On the contrary, 62% of industry traffic flows through search engines.
Looking at the top 5 Healthcare Industry domains, the dominance of Organic Search becomes even more apparent. Across the board, Organic Search makes up the majority of traffic across each domain’s strategy.
The majority of Organic Search traffic is driven through keywords related to specific illnesses or medications, such as “psoriasis” or “tramadol,” as opposed to local-based searches like, “doctors near me.”
When looking at the pages driving the most Organic Traffic for top domains in the industry, some strategic nuances emerge.
Mayoclinic.org showed “healthy lifestyle” focused pages at the top of their list, followed by “diseases-conditions.”
For mayoclinic.org, their calorie counter page takes the top spot in terms of Organic Search traffic. This tool, which attracts over 700K page visits a month, falls squarely into the “healthy lifestyle” category.
Clevelandclinic.org, which comes in at #8 on our list of top Healthcare domains, showed a stronger focus on “symptoms.” This suggests a strategy geared toward assisting site visitors with diagnosis, as opposed to providing information or solutions to already diagnosed issues.
Overall, the Healthcare Industry stands out 62% of its total traffic flowing through the Organic Search channel. The dominance of specific illness and medication-related keywords over local searches reveals the industries’ attention to user intent in their keyword strategies.
The nuanced strategies of top pages across leading domains reveal a focus on health education and diagnostic support, which seem to be the main drivers of their high Organic Search traffic numbers.
The Retail Traffic Race: Overall Trends with a Focus on Sporting Goods, Apparel, and Fashion
While Direct traffic is high in Retail, the category shows a strong trend toward search engines with higher-than-average levels of Organic and Paid Search traffic.
Organic Search is the second largest channel with 28% of the industry’s total traffic flowing through search engines. This trend suggests a strong focus on SEO for retailers as they seek to bring traffic to their domains.
Electronics-related searches were by far the most popular when looking at keyword volumes in the Retail Industry. Samsung, iPhone 11, and Nintendo Switch led the industry with volumes topping out at 2.2M searches per month.
While the broad Retail Industry experiences high Organic Search numbers, the Sporting Goods Industry sees an even higher distribution with nearly 30% of total industry traffic coming through organic searches.
We can see the importance of Organic Search in the strategies of top players in the Sporting Goods Industry. Though some domains like decathlon.fr and dickssportinggoods.com showed the highest levels of Organic Search distribution in their strategies, the channel remains key for all of the top industry domains.
Diving deeper into the domains with the most reliance on the Organic Search channel, we uncovered some surprising details related to traffic splits among search engines.
While google.com is a key engine for all of the top domains, France-based decathlon.fr outcompeted other domains on ecosia.com and performed quite well on bing.com.
Turning to the Apparel and Fashion Industry, we discovered surprising outcomes in Paid Search and Organic Social. These trends reflect similar patterns in the broad Retail Industry as well.
In the Apparel and Fashion Industry, Paid Search traffic makes up 2.6% of the industry’s overall traffic, almost 3X the average across all other industries.
The strength of Organic Social across the Retail Industry also becomes clear when looking at Apparel and Fashion. Organic Social accounts for 2.6% of the Apparel and Fashion Industry’s total traffic, compared to an overall average for all industries of 1.45%.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Reddit were the top five sources sending traffic to Retail industry domains. In the last year, TikTok has emerged as a leader, knocking Twitter from its spot in the top 5.
In conclusion, the Retail Industry displays a strong preference for search engines, with a significant emphasis on both Organic Search and Paid Search channels. While the Sporting Goods Industry shows a strong reliance on Organic Search, Paid Search remains more important for the Fashion and Apparel Industry.
Organic Social is also a key channel within the Retail Industry overall, with TikTok emerging as a prominent traffic source, emphasizing the evolving landscape of social media platforms in driving consumer engagement.
The Beauty of Broad Strategies: Traffic Trends in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods
In the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods and Cosmetics Industries, distribution rates landed relatively close to averages across all industries. Direct led the way, accounting for 60% of total industry traffic, and Organic Search came in second place at 26.5%.
In the FMCG category, we see beverages and clothing dominating the Organic Search landscape with keywords such as “Basketball shoes”, “Heineken”, and “Coca Cola”, leading the list in terms of search volumes.
Within the FMCG Industry, the Beauty and cosmetics category has seen some of the most impressive growth in the past few years. In 2022, the Beauty and Cosmetics Industry grew by 15%, compared to 6% growth seen by the FMCG Industry overall.
In Beauty and Cosmetics, the Organic Search channel accounted for 32% of overall traffic, compared to 26.5% seen by the FMCG Industry overall. This distribution also comes in higher than the overall Organic Search averages for all industries of 29%.
Looking closer at top domains in the Beauty and Cosmetics Industry, we discovered a diversity of traffic strategies that add more nuance to overall industry averages.
While domains like fragrantica.com and boots.com show strong Organic Search distributions, ulta.com and qvc.com rely less on the channel, opting for less popular strategies like Organic Social and Paid Search. Here, we see top players using less popular channels to gain an edge in the market.
Turning back to the broad FMCG Industry, we see similar strategic trends emerge within the Industry’s top players. For example, dior.com shows a strong focus on Paid Search, and adidas.com shows higher-than-average levels of Organic Social traffic.
Paid Search was most notable when looking at both the FMCG Industry generally, and when considering Beauty and Cosmetics. While Paid Search averages lingered at 1% across all industries, Beauty and Cosmetics showed about 1.7% of total traffic flowing through Paid Search ads, while the number stands at 1.4% for the FMCG Industry overall.
Interestingly, Paid Search (and paid social) numbers show even more importance when comparing U.S. to global distributions. Globally 1.7% of total Beauty and cosmetic industry traffic comes through the Paid Search channel, in the U.S. that number rises to 2.7%.
Overall, traffic distributions within the FMCG Industry (which includes the Beauty and Cosmetics Industry) show averages similar to all other industries. But looking closely at the unique strategies of top domains, the power of more diversified strategic approaches becomes clear.
While some traffic leaders prioritize Organic Search, others see success in alternate channels like Paid Search and Organic Social. Notably, the prominence of Paid Search, particularly in the U.S. market, reveals shifts in digital advertising in enhancing brand visibility and consumer engagement within the FMCG Industry.
Virtual Journeys and Digital Destinations: Traffic Trends in the Travel and Tourism Industry
The Travel and Tourism Industry showed typical trends across major channels. Direct traffic landed at 55%, just under the 58% average for all industries, while Organic Search and Referral traffic were slightly higher.
Of all the industries we explored, Travel and Tourism showed the 3rd highest distribution in terms of Referral traffic at 10% compared to an overall average of 8%. Comparing Referral traffic numbers over the last year reveals steady growth, expanding from 580M in October of 2022 to 623M in September of 2023.
Looking closely at top domains in the industry, Referral traffic emerges as a key channel for some domains. For example, agoda.com and booking.com show higher levels of Referral traffic than Organic Search.
Looking at Traffic Journeys for these industry-leading websites, we discovered the majority of Referral traffic flows from smaller domains to larger domains within the Travel and Tourism Industry, as opposed to flowing to and from domains in adjacent industries. This feature highlights the interconnected nature of the Travel and Tourism market online.
Turning to the Paid Search channel, the Travel and Tourism industry shows distributions around 2.5%, which is more than 2X the average for all industries overall.
While overall Paid Search traffic has decreased in the industry over the last year, there seems to be a seasonal trend in the Paid search channel, with traffic numbers increasing in October and January, and declining through the spring and summer.
Finally, Travel and Tourism Industry traffic numbers in Paid and Organic Social stand significantly lower than the averages of other industries. Paid Social shows an average traffic distribution of 0.14% across all industries, and Organic Social accounts for 2%, while the Travel and Tourism Industry sees only 0.04% and 0.52%, respectively.
Of the leaders in the industry, however, airbnb.com saw a particularly high percentage of traffic flowing through the Organic Social channel. In the past year, they’ve seen 1.7% of their total traffic come organically through social media, which is higher than the overall averages for all industries.
This interesting outlier could point to a potential opportunity for Travel and Tourism Industry players who have the capacity to experiment with underutilized social channels.
Ultimately, The Travel and Tourism Industry reflects familiar traffic patterns, with a notable emphasis on Referral traffic at 10%, surpassing the 8% average across all industries. The analysis of top domains highlights Referral traffic’s significance, showcasing its role in interconnecting smaller and larger travel-based platforms.
Despite relatively lower utilization of Paid and Organic Social channels compared to other sectors, the exceptional performance of airbnb.com in Organic Social suggests untapped potential for strategic social media exploration within the industry.
This comprehensive analysis of traffic channel distribution across industries highlights the critical role of tailored marketing strategies in maximizing online visibility. Understanding industry-specific traffic trends is pivotal for digital marketers to optimize their approaches effectively and outperform their rivals in highly competitive markets.
The dominance of Direct traffic in Finance and Banking, the significance of Organic Search in Healthcare, and the strategic use of Paid and Organic channels in Retail and Fashion all underscore the need for diverse marketing strategies. The data also emphasizes the growing influence of mobile platforms, local SEO, and social media, with platforms like TikTok gaining prominence as we move toward the future.
Ultimately, this study underscores the importance of continuous adaptation to evolving trends, enabling marketers to stay ahead in harnessing diverse traffic channels for improved brand visibility, engagement, and overall business growth.