Verisign Report Shows Significant Slowing of Domain Registration Growth

Verisign logoOnce upon a time not that many years ago, the growth in domain name registrations each year was like growth in the Chinese economy – well over 10%. These days the growth rate overall is nothing to be sneezed. In the year to the end of March, registrations around the world grew by 3.7% (11.8 million) to 330.6 million across all top level domains (TLDs) according to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief. It was only in the preceding year, to the end of March 2016, that registrations had grown 11%.

OK, Verisign add a proviso when looking back on registrations for registrations to the end of March 2016 for the .tk (Tokelau) country code top level domain (ccTLD) with a significant re-estimation downwards of its zone file size. As a result total global domain name registrations were changed from 326.4 million to 318.8 million. However these 10%+ annual registration increases were standard for several years.

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The change in of annual registration increases of below 5% though are likely to be standard for some years to come as the significant growth is coming from ccTLDs in developing countries and within new gTLDs, although even here due to some new gTLDs such as .xyz having hugely discounted promotions, renewal rates are very low and even declining. However in total new gTLD registrations have stabilised around the 27 million mark for the last 6 weeks according to nTLDstats.com. As of 31 March new gTLD registrations were near their peak of 29.1 million. They peak at 29.4 million in mid-April.

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For the quarter, registrations grew only 0.4% (1.3 million) to 31 March, which indicated an even greater slowdown in registration growth.

The .com and .net TLDs had a combined total of approximately 143.6 million domain name registrations in the domain name base in the first quarter of 2017 – 128.4 million for .com and 15.2 million for .net. This represents a 0.8% increase year over year, almost entirely due to increase in .com.

Among ccTLDs, .cn (China) has regained the crown of the largest and now has 21.4 million registrations to be the second largest of all TLDs while .tk has 18.6 million with .de (Germany) next with 16.2 million. Following in the top ten TLDs is .net then .uk (United Kingdom – 10.6m), .org (10.4m), .ru (Russian Federation – 6.4m), .nl (Netherlands – 5.7m) and then the largest of the new gTLDs, .xyz (5.6m).

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Growth in ccTLDs was only 0.3% for the quarter, or 408,242 registrations, and 1.7% (2.4 million) for the year. Without including .tk, ccTLD domain name registrations increased approximately 568,242 in the first quarter of 2017, a 0.5 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 and ccTLDs increased by approximately 4.6 million domain name registrations, or 3.9 percent, year over year.

At the end of the first quarter there were 294 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root, including Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs composing 64.7 percent of all ccTLD domain name registrations.

For the new gTLDs registrations totalled 25.4 million as of 31 March, 7.7% of total domain name registrations. The top 10 new gTLDs represented 64.1% of all new gTLD domain name registrations.

Volume 14, Issue 2, of the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief is available for download from:
http://www.verisign.com/assets/domain-name-report-Q12017.pdf

An archive of recent reports is available from:
http://www.verisign.com/en_US/domain-names/dnib/domain-name-industry-brief-reports/index.xhtml