At the end of 2016 there were 309.4 million domain names registered around the world, an increase of around 1.03 million (0.3%) for the quarter, a comparatively small increase compared to previous quarters largely due to a decline in registration numbers among legacy gTLDs according to the latest Centr DomainWire Global TLD report [pdf].
The overall increase was mostly made up among the more than 1,200 new generic Top Level Domains who made up around 8% of the market at the end of the quarter, an increase of 0.8% market share over the previous quarter with total registrations increasing by 11%.
The 17 legacy gTLDs saw a small reduction in market share to around 52% of all registrations as total registrations dropped 1.9%, a trend that commenced with the introduction of the new gTLDs for some and among some others the fall was exacerbated. The .com gTLD is one of the few to have seen registrations continue to grow relatively strongly overall, but in the last few months it has seen a slight decline, probably as a result of Chinese registrants not renewing their domain names following a slight “boom” in 2015.
Among the 266 country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) their 40% share of the global market was relatively unchanged even though their total registrations grew slightly by 1.4%.
Over the quarter, 7 out of the 10 largest TLDs globally experienced negative growth and .ru (Russian Federation) moved up one position, overtaking .info.
The European ccTLD market is estimated at around 69.6 million domains among the 55 TLDswith a combined growth of 167K domains (0.2%) over Q4 2016. Although the long-term trend is downward, the pace of decline in median growth has slowed over the past 12 months and is averaging 0.3% monthly. The chart highlights that European ccTLDs had limited impact from Chinese investment when compared to legacy gTLDs. High percentage growth ccTLDs were .se (Sweden), .cy (Cyprus) and .pt (Portugal).
Since the beginning of 2016, average market share of new gTLDs in European countries (as a proportion of all TLDs registered locally) increased from 1.3% to 3.3% at the beginning of Q4 2016. New gTLD growth in Europe remains relatively slow however had highest percentage gains in Russia, Armenia and Serbia. Over the 30 recorded European countries, on average, the local ccTLDs have the highest proportions and quarterly changes suggest that this trend is strengthening.