European Country Code TLDs See Slower Growth According to New Report

Domain name stats are always interesting to see, but a new report from CENTR has shown how the market progressed in Europe in 2023.

According to their report, European ccTLDs (country code top level domains) grew at a median rate of around 1.4% last year. Three countries saw particularly good growth, with Poland, France, and Italy all doing well with their ccTLDs. The stats further revealed that across Europe, the number of domains being registered are outweighing those being deleted.

Domain growth across the year had its moments, though. The year began with a fall in growth, although from there, the only way was up for much of the year. It only started to become sluggish as the year end approached. The median rate of growth across the European region for 2023 was therefore 1.4% – far less than was seen during the pandemic.

Looking more closely at the figures for last year, we can see that 44% of all European ccTLDs were for developed websites – websites with content that were accessible across the internet. A further 27% of domains were parked, so some of those will likely develop with added content in future. The remaining 29% either had no content on them at all or had errors. This compares favourably with .com domains, where only 35% were developed. Another 30% were parked, only slightly more than the ccTLDs stats, with a higher 35% containing errors or no content at all.

Speaking of .com domains, the CENTR report indicated that .com was falling out of favour across Europe last year. The report used the word ‘stagnated’ while pointing out that most European countries saw a decrease in its usage throughout the year.

One piece of good news is that prices across Europe for ccTLDs dropped slightly across the year, coming in at €9.40 including tax. The cost of renewing a domain last year reached around €15.70 as a median value, continuing the upward trend seen since 2021.

CENTR also pondered the further development of AI and its potential impact on domain names. They posed the question of whether Google and other search engines might see a drop in traffic as more people ask AI tools for information, rather than searching for it on the internet. We think it’s far too early to suppose this might occur, but it is certainly an area worth looking at further in the coming years. There has been such an explosion of interest in and usage of AI in recent months, who can say whether it might influence domain names too?

In terms of the global market share of ccTLDs, they currently account for 38% of all domains in the global marketplace. Dot com addresses are slightly ahead of this on 45%, although we must remember that ccTLDs account for those in all European countries. We’ll look forward to next year’s report to see whether some of these trends continue through 2024, and whether there are further clues to what might happen beyond that.