9th March, 2018
The Association of European country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries, CENTR, has just published its quarterly report (Q4 2017) on the state of the domain name sector in the world. All in all, during the fourth quarter 2017, the market growth has shown a slowdown with only 1.2% increase at 331.1 million domains. The generic extensions (gTLDs: .com, .net, .Paris, etc.) has continued to contract by -0.4% to 187.7 million. In contrast, country code extensions (ccTLDs), which account for 44% of the world total domains, continued to grow at a dynamic pace of 3.9%.
Among the ccTLDs, Europe is the fastest growing region: 4% to 72.1 million. Among the European ccTLDs, some have shown a strong momentum with more than 5% for .uk, .se and .fr. Very good performances of small countries such as Portugal (+ 11.6%) and Finland (+ 7.9%) were observed. On the other hand, the .ru saw a further decline due to the weak economic growth in Russia. For the whole of 2017, the growth of European ccTLDs has reached 3%. Moreover, in Europe, ccTLDs have outperformed gTLDs with a record market share of nearly 60%. In Asia, .uz (Uzbekistan), .vn (Vietnam) and .ir (Iran) have experienced the strongest growth, driven by a strong rebound of these economies.
The number of new gTLDs shrunk sharply at the end of 2017 to 20 million due to the strong decline of .xyz and .top (-4.5 million). The new gTLDs market remains difficult: 30% of new gTLDs have experienced a decline in the number of domains. In addition, this market remains highly speculative with 63% of the total of domains that redirect to a parking page, suggesting that they are for sale by domainers.
Overall, while .com remains the most popular extension, ccTLDs, particularly in Europe and in Asia, seem to be benefiting from good economic conditions. On the contrary, the market for new gTLDs remains fragile and speculative, with the exception of geographical extensions (.london, .tokyo).