The CENTRstats Global TLD Report Q2/2021 has been published. It covers the global status and registration trends in all top-level domains (legacy gTLDs, new gTLDs and ccTLDs), with a specific focus on the European ccTLD market.
EUROPEAN COUNTRY-CODE DOMAINS
- There are an estimated 116 million registered domains across CENTR member countries in Europe1 of which 69 million are ccTLDs (+2% YOY), 35 million .com domains (+5% YOY) and 13 million representing all other gTLDs (+12% YOY).
- The median growth of European ccTLDs at July 2021 was 3.6% YOY, down from a high of 4.9% in the first quarter.
- Demand in new domain purchases fell sharply in Q2 while rates of expirations/deletions remained generally stable.
- The median buy price of a ccTLD domain advertised to the public is 10.8 EUR2. Buy prices have been stable for at least the past few quarters, however a downward price trend is emerging in promotions of .com.
- 27% of ccTLD domains queried are broken or have no functioning content (e.g. HTTP/DNS errors, timeouts etc). A further 27% lead to parked, abandoned, blocked or other low content pages. This leaves 46% which are considered normal functioning websites.
There are an estimated 116 million registered domains across Europe3 of which 69 million are ccTLDs (+2% YOY), 35 million .com domains (+5% YOY) 13 million represent all other gTLDs (+12% YOY). The domain market in Europe is sometimes stated as being saturated, however when looking at domains per capita, we see a different story. Domains per capita in a country can give a sense of market potential, particularly when compared with other countries. The median ‘domains per 100 people in Europe is 11. There are at least 20 European countries below this value suggesting that for many, there is plenty of room for further growth.
Registrations and growth drivers
In the 12 months to March 2021, the median growth in European ccTLDs rose consistently for one of the first times since data has been recorded at CENTR. It reached a high of 4.9% (year-on-year) in March, but has since dropped back to 3.6% (CENTR30). As previously reported, the trends are likely to be linked to lockdowns across Europe which increased and reinforced the move online for businesses across the region. The increases were driven mostly by increase in demand in new domains over 2020 as well as a subtle improvement to the renewal rates in the latter part of the year. The seasonal nature of demand has often shown that new domain sales generally climb from mid-year to around January when they start to decline. In 2021, however, demand continued through till March before declining. Despite the drop in demand, median growth is still at a 5 year high.
When examining the registration dynamics between new domain purchases and deletes in 2021, we see that the main driver for the slowing growth in Q2 is likely explained by a reduction in demand for new domains (and not an increase in deletes which would be more concerning). The data shows that surges in domain sales in 2020 have so far been retained.
If a business plans to purchase a domain to create a website, the price of a domain registration is unlikely to have a significant bearing on their decision. It can however influence their choice of TLD. This is because, to the general public, domain names appear similar to commodity products. In a technical sense they are. They are generic and generally bought out of necessity (with the exception of domainers/speculators), rather than for any intrinsic value. Creating loyalty from a generic product is difficult as most will choose either what they know and trust or the cheaper option (assuming the name is available).
The price of a European ccTLD is 10.8 EUR4 (median, July 2021) – slightly below .com at 11.8 EUR (sampled from the same set of registrars of European ccTLDs). While these values have not changed substantially over the past few months, we have seen some changes in their respective promotions. While the promotional prices of ccTLDs have generally been stable at 6.0 EUR, the registrar discounts of .com domains have been falling in price over several quarters and are currently around 7.9 EUR. Price, availability of names and trust in different TLDs will become increasingly important particularly if new gTLDs begin to reduce their prices.
The global market is estimated at around 317 million domains made up of ccTLDs (32%) and gTLDs (68%)5. The median growth of the top 300 largest TLDs (Global300) was 6.4% in the 12 months to April 2021. Similarly to the European ccTLDs mentioned above, the Global300 median has been trending up since early 2020, however this started to plateau around April 2021.
By group, rates were 4.3% for ccTLDs in the Asia Pacific region (APTLD20), 4.5% for ccTLDs in Europe and 7.8% in the top 300 gTLDs. After a period of negative median growth, geographic gTLDs moved into the positive figures late in the year. The median growth of the top 30 geographic gTLDs (city and region TLDs) was 0.8% in the 12 months to April 2021 – well short of the gTLD300 rate.
gTLDs remain heavily concentrated in a small group (92% within the top 10) and show no sign of change. New gTLDs have yet to make any significant dent in the overall gTLD market share, and gTLD diversification has actually declined, becoming even more concentrated to the largest gTLD, .com. Over the past 3 years the share of .com within all gTLDs moved from 70% at the start of 2018 to 74% in May 2021. All remaining gTLDs moved from 30% to 26% in the same period6. Based on the top 100 gTLDs, CENTR crawling data shows that around 43% of gTLDs are broken (e.g. connection, DNS and HTTP errors) while a further 28% are either parked, abandoned or contain blank pages. This leaves around 24% which have a normal functioning website. Of these sites, 61% have an MX record, 65% have an SSL certificate and 28% were the result of a redirect. Analysis of domain usage data will continue to be developed in coming editions of this report.