Australia’s .AU country code Top Level Domain is responsible for more than 4300 full time jobs and contributed $475 million to the Australian economy a report by Deloitte Access Economics has found.
The report, Economic and Statistical Analysis of the .au Domain Range [available as a PDF here and here], was commissioned by the .AU registry, AusRegistry, and the .AU regulator, auDA, and is the first to examine the economic value and impact of the .AU ccTLD on Australian Internet users, businesses and registrants.
The report revealed exponential growth in the number of registered .AU domain names over the last decade, which reached a total of 2.3 million in 2011. This represents a 600 per cent increase since 2002, with 60,000 new .AU domains being registered every month.
Activity directly associated with registration and hosting of .AU domains accounted for 57 per cent, or $269 million, of the total contribution to Australia’s economy. Services such as web design and infrastructure provision accounted for the balance.
Additionally, the report found that 58 per cent of the total economic contribution of $475 million for .AU domain name registration and operation accrued to employees, indicating an overall relatively labour-intensive industry.
The report echoes a similar report for the Austrian registry, nic.at, in 2011 that found the .AT domain names contributed €13.5 million (around A$16.6m today) to the Austrian economy in 2009, with the contribution growing each year. The study found that for every €1 spent on .AT domain names €3.10 was added to the Austrian economy. When additional services were factored in this figure grew to €14.89.
Benefits of .AU were also spread around the country even if registrants of .AU domain names are focused around the major population centres at a greater than proportional rate with 80 per cent of .AU registrations registered in major cities, compared to only 68 per cent of the total population residing in these major cities.
But the benefits are not confined to major centres. When the number of .AU registrations are compared against the number of businesses by region, the density of domain names is highest for businesses in very remote Australia, with 0.67 registrations per business. The report suggests this may be indicative of the fact that these businesses are more reliant on communications technology in their operations.
The report notes this is a somewhat surprising result with typical rates of connection to the internet are lower in very remote Australia, which reflects the overall lower access to quality internet services in these regions.
The report also identifies a number of changes that may influence future growth in registrations. These include the introduction of new TLDs as well as internationalised domain names, the increasing importance of search engines for internet users seeking information and the role of social media and group buying websites in influencing consumer purchase decisions.
When looking at businesses with a web presence, which includes all domain names – not just businesses with .AU registrations, the report found the arts and recreation services was the sector with the highest proportion of businesses with a web presence, and hence domain name, with around two-thirds of businesses. Other sectors with more than half of businesses online were professional, scientific and technical services, financial and insurance services, rental, hiring and real estate services, wholesale trade and manufacturing. Overall, 40 per cent of Australian businesses reported having a web presence in 2009-10.
At the other end of the scale web presence remains very low among agriculture, forestry and fishing businesses at just 11 per cent, and in the transport, postal and warehousing sector, at 22 per cent.
Ric Simes, Deloitte Access Economics Director, said the report confirmed the value to the Australian economy of the .au domain and the importance of a web presence for businesses.
“The Internet has clearly become the starting point for consumer research and purchasing decisions,” he said. “The contribution to the Australian economy of the industry administering .au is significant, particularly in terms of employment, and this will continue to grow with the ongoing shift to e-commerce.”
Chris Disspain, CEO of auDA, attributed the health of .AU to its policy environment and the trust this engenders in Australian users.
“.AU is a vibrant marketplace, with over 30 registrars competing on price and services. But beyond this, the safeguards we have in place to protect both Australian businesses and end users, make .AU a signpost of trust and security online,” Mr Disspain said.
Adrian Kinderis, CEO of AusRegistry, said Australian business owners continue to place significant value in .AU names.
“We are continually developing the .au namespace to increase its profile, promote its benefits and drive greater registration volumes. These actions have created a strong appetite within the Australian business community, resulting in .AU evolving into the domain name of choice for Australian business. The findings of this report highlight the importance of .AU to the Australian economy and celebrate the combined efforts of auDA and AusRegistry,” Mr Kinderis said.
To register your .AU domain name, check out Asia Registry here.