It’s a not too uncommon scenario for the ccTLDs of developed countries. Growth has stagnated or declined and total registrations among some is starting to decline as markets mature and even reach a level of saturation. Germany’s .de is one, and during 2018 registrations in the ccTLD that was the world’s largest for many years declined, albeit slightly, for the first time since it was launched in 1986.
At the end of 2018 there were 16,204,745 .de domain names, with approximately 15 million registered in Germany according to the annual regional domain statistics published by DENIC. The remaining 1.2 million, or 7.6% of all .de domains, were registered in pretty much every country around the world, and non-German registrations grew 3.4%. .de domains are particularly popular in the United States, accounting for over a quarter (27%) of all registrations outside Germany, the Netherlands (10%) and the Russian Federation (7%). Germany’s European neighbours Switzerland, Austria and further afield Great Britain, and also the United Arab Emirates, each account for 6% of all non-German registrations.
Inside Germany, registrations declined 0.9%. Germany’s country code top level domain is the third largest ccTLD behind .cn (China) with 22.7 million registrations and .tk, the ccTLD for the Pacific nation of Tokelau which largely gives away it’s 21.5 million domains for free, according to Verisign’s Domain Name Industry Brief.
If it could be averaged out, DENIC calculated that 180 of every 1,000 German citizens had a .de domain at the end of 2018, making Germany fourth in the world after the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark when it comes to per capita registrations.
But there were large variations with cities, and in particular large cities, continuing to show a high domain density, while domain penetration in rural areas often remains below the average values. On a per capita basis, Osnabruck comes first again with 1,509 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants, far ahead of the other two top runners in the city league, Munich (426) and Bonn (388). The city with the most domain names was Berlin with 1,006,388 .de domains, while Munich (623,494) and Hamburg (577,127) followed.
At a state level, the number of domains per capita was similar to 2018. The state of Hamburg – comprising the city of Hamburg and its wider outskirts – had 315 domains per 1,000 inhabitants maintains its uncontested leading position and stays far ahead of Berlin (282) and the state of Bavaria with its vast lands (205). As in the preceding year, the state of Saxony-Anhalt (82) brings up the rear after the states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Thuringia with 106 and 108 domains per 1,000 inhabitants respectively.
Detailed statistics on .de registrations are available on the DENIC website here.