Nominet held their second annual .uk registrar conference at Wembley Stadium last week where they released their Domain Name Industry Report 2008 that highlights some interesting statistics about domain name registrations both in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.
The report also shows the importance of a .uk domain name to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) as their primary domain name. There has also been a continuing increase in popularity of country code domain names driven by strong growth in countries such as China and Russia. This has pushed the market share of country codes to 40 per cent of the 174 million domain names across the world.
With the market share of Country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) increasing, the .com market share has fallen from 50% in 2005 to 45% now according to the report, and this is evidence that the market share of Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) being eroded.
gTLDs such as .com, .net and .org, have been most affected with annual growth rates falling from over 30 per cent growth in 2006 to under 10 per cent this year to date. Meanwhile ccTLDs as a group have fared better with growth rates only falling from 37 to 26 per cent. However, this is mainly due to huge growth in certain ccTLDs such as China and Russia.
As well as focussing on the .uk market, the report also looks more widely at ccTLDs in particular, with .uk the third largest ccTLD behind .cn (China) and .de (Germany). .nl (Netherlands) and .eu (European Union) round out the top 5 followed by .ar (Argentina) and .ru (Russian Federation). .fr (France) .pl (Poland) and .es (Spain) are all big movers up in their top 20 list, while .ch (Switzerland), .jp (Japan) and .kr (Korea) all drop noticeably due to growth rates being not as high as others. .au (Australia) remains in twelfth place.
When comparing total domain name registrations in countries, the United States leads with 55.24 million registrations followed by Germany (17.25m), the United Kingdom (11.23m) and China (10.94m).
Countries with less restrictive rules on registering domain names tend to have higher rates of ccTLD registrations. Examples of these are France and Spain, however in recent years both have liberalised their registration rules. Australia, India and Spain are also examples with lower proportions of ccTLD registrations and more restrictive registration rules.
The report also has an interesting comparison of GDP and domain name registrations. A number of countries over perform considerably on domain names versus GDP, most notably Netherlands and Argentina. Japan and the United States on the other hand appear to show low levels of ccTLD registrations when ranked against their GDP. This highlights the reliance and preference in both of these countries for generic domain names such as .com.
On the distribution of gTLDs across the world, all gTLDs are dominated by sales in USA, with registrations from the USA accounting for around 50% of each gTLD.
Of all the gTLDs, the smallest proportion of .com registrants are based in Europe, with 21 per cent. The gTLD with the largest proportion of its registrants based in Europe is .info, with 37% and .biz follows closely behind with 31 per cent. The report suggests that European businesses are more open to a range of different TLDs, whilst non-European are most keen on .com, to the detriment of the other gTLDs.
Outside of North America, .com registrations are highest as a total of all registrations in any larger country in the United Kingdom with 4.7 per cent of all registrations .com followed by Germany (4.5%), China (3.2%), France (2.4%) and Australia (2.0%).
The report breaks down all of the gTLDs into regional distributions. For .org registrations, Germany has 8.2 per cent of all registrations and 8.5 per cent of all .net registrations. In other gTLDs, Germany has the most .info and .biz registrations outside the United States in large countries with 9.6 and 7.9 per cent of registrations respectively. The United Kingdom leads with 6.3 per cent of .mobi registrations .
To register your .uk domain name, check out Europe Registry here.