The domain name industry report from Nominet: Issue Q4 2011

Latest .uk monthly data for November 2013

Total on register: 10,548,454 Monthly new registrations: 106,518 Monthly Renewals: 352,257



Lesley Cowley
Chief Executive

Welcome to our latest issue of Domain Business where we look at the domain industry as a whole and focus in on industry developments in the UK. In this issue we’re taking a retrospective look back at 2012, a year which saw the continued growth of the Top Level Domain (TLD) market as global registrations reached over a quarter of a billion.

In our last issue we looked at the strength of the UK internet economy and how we’re leading the way in the G20. This time we’re looking at the domain market and considering how it is changing as we approach the launch of new Top Level Domains.

Globally the future remains bright

The global domain name industry continues to see strong growth, with registrations up +11% year on year. This growth has been driven by ccTLDs and in particular by some of the actively remarketed ‘global’ ccTLDs such as .co, .tk and .me.

The more established domains, meanwhile, such as, .com, .net, and .org, are experiencing slowing growth rates and are growing at a slower rate than the overall market.

Promotions and creative initiatives are stimulating change in the UK

The total UK domain name market (all TLDs registered to a UK address) has seen a slowing rate of growth in the past year, most notably over the last three quarters. We have seen differing performance rates across all sections of the market at different times as assorted promotional campaigns have been activated showing that the market is responsive to promotions. Why growth rates are slowing is intriguing and there is much speculation:

  • Is it the sign of a maturing market?
  • Is it a symptom of the upcoming launch of new TLDs?
  • Is it a symptom of prolonged tough global economic uncertainty?
  • Is it a combination of these or other factors – or something further as yet unknown?

Looking specifically at .uk in the UK, since passing the 10m .uk names barrier last year, which was a great achievement for all associated with the industry, we’ve seen an overall slow in the rate of growth of the register.

Register growth is based on two key factors: new registrations and renewal of existing registrations. In recent years we have witnessed a long term trend towards lower growth rates of new registrations and 2012 saw our first decline in new registration levels.

We have seen a similar trend in renewals as previously stable renewal rates have declined in the last year. Some of this decline is caused by promotional registrations reaching their first renewal period and experiencing poor renewal rates but this is not the sole reason for the declining renewal rate and we are further examining the underlying causes for non-renewal. More information can be found on our UK Registrar Update page.

What happens next

Overall the market is experiencing changing times and the introduction of new Top Level Domains later this year will stimulate further change. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the changes and keeping you posted of our findings and views.