Visitors vs. Sessions: Understanding Shopify Metrics (With Examples!)

Understanding the difference between Shopify sessions and visits helps you plan your marketing efforts better. Let's look at the main differences and examples.

Kelli Harris
By Kelli Harris
Head and shoulders photo of Michelle Meyer
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Published August 26, 2022.

Understanding the difference between Shopify sessions and visits will help you plan your marketing efforts because they provide critical insight into your customer's behavior, such as who your audience is, where they came from, and how often they return.

Shopify Sessions vs. Visitors: What's the Difference?


Sessions are the length of time a customer spends in your store.

A customer's session ends if they've been inactive on your store for 30 minutes. Alternatively, the session resets every day at midnight. As a result, a visitor can have multiple sessions. This also means that visitor numbers are almost always lower than session numbers.

During a session, several activities can be performed, including:

  • Page views
  • Events
  • Transactions
  • Social interactions

An average session lasts three minutes, therefore it's an indication you're on the right track if any customer sessions are longer than this.


While sessions provide insight into the duration of time customers spend on your store, visitors are determined by the number of devices they use to access your Shopify store.

Cookies are required for both of these metrics. When your customers visit your store, cookies are stored on their various devices. Different cookies are used to identify the duration of customers' stays and their devices.

Examples of the Difference Between Shopify Sessions and Visitors

Let's use the following example:

One customer who spends 25 minutes on your store and comes back twice in three hours is counted as one visitor and two sessions by Shopify. Due to the fact that a session expires after 30 minutes, their behavior is recorded as two sessions.

In contrast, Shopify would count one session and one visitor if the customer spent 10 minutes in the store and then returned in 15 minutes.

In Conclusion

Understanding Google Analytics sessions as well as how Google Analytics assisted conversions helps to make customers out of visitors, will help you create better marketing strategies and improve conversion rates.