COVID Pandemic Sees 2020 A Year of Growth For .DE As Ecommerce Booms

Germany’s .de increased registrations by 2.3% in 2020, an increase in registrations of a quarter of a million domain names, which was a noticeable uptick following several years of little growth, in a year when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world and there was a move to more ecommerce.

According to the 2020 DENIC Activity Report, an annual release of .de domain name statistics from DENIC, the .de ccTLD registry, there were 15.2 million .de domains registered in the 401 cities and districts of Germany as of 31 December 2020 plus an additional 1.5 million domain names registered to registrants abroad. This took the total to more than 16.7 million .de domains.

DENIC .de domain statistics

But growth across Germany wasn’t uniform with growth being more pronounced in the south than in the north of Germany. The west-east divide in the distribution of domains across Germany increased slightly.

The growth resurgence in 2020 isn’t expected to continue in the medium term as DENIC’s CEO Jörg Schweiger said earlier this week when I asked him about the future of domain names.

Schweiger said “with respect to domains used primarily as a means for communication and marketing, we have seen a significant slowdown in growth in recent years, caused in part by social media, expanded browser capabilities as well as the trend toward mobile business and apps. The recent resurgence in registration numbers is mainly the result of digitalisation initiatives in response to the pandemic and thus isn’t a long-term trend.”

This was also reflected in the 2020 DENIC Activity Report released this week by DENIC that noted “the importance the Internet has gained for all areas of economic and social life has become more evident than ever in the situation of the coronavirus pandemic. The time people spend on the Internet in general is increasing just as significantly as Internet traffic and domain registration numbers in order to provide new web offers.”

In the top 10 cities, DENIC’s 2020 DENIC Domain Statistics notes there were 8 where registrations went up and two, including the largest for domain registrations – Berlin – went down. At the end of 2020 there were 988,795 domain names registered in Berlin, down from 992,558 12 months earlier. The other city where registrations went down was Stuttgart (178,513), while in the remaining 8 – Munich (630,403 registrations), Hamburg (587,237), Cologne 372,826), Osnabrück (257,518), Frankfurt am Main (249,941), the Hanover Area (236,178), Dussledorf (209,680) and Nuremburg (144,450) – registrations went up.

Per capita though it was a very different story. Osnabruck remained the city with the most domain names per person with 1,563 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants, remaining far ahead of the other two top runners in the city league, Munich (428) and Bonn (376). In regard to the districts, the frontrunners were located in the south of Germany again, namely Bavaria with 489 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants, Starnberg maintained its leading position, Freising (422) and the district of Munich (364) followed at a distance. The national average was 183 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants. A reason for higher individual statistical values is local domain investors with large domain portfolios.

When it comes to the German states, the state of Hamburg – comprising the city of Hamburg and its wider outskirts – was highest with 319 domains per 1,000 inhabitants maintaining its uncontested leading position and stayed far ahead of Berlin (271) and the state of Bavaria with its vast lands (209). The state of Saxony-Anhalt (84) once again brought up the rear behind the states of Thuringia (105) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (108).

As in the last year, the largest number of domains was recorded for North Rhine-Westphalia (3,303,069), followed by Bavaria (2,735,576). The so-called Free State of Saxony with 532,268 registered .de domains achieved the highest density among the federal states in the east of the country and maintained its tenth position again in the overall German ranking. The smallest number of .de domains – even though it scored the highest percentage growth on an annual basis – was reported in the city state of Bremen (120,037).

Compared on an annual level, the overall number of .de domains under management increased by 2.3% compared to +0.7% in 2018/2019. This is an increase of 376,000 .de domains (2019: +120,000 domains). The 16.7 million .de domains that were registered at the end of 2020 included more than 1.45 million domains to registrants residing outside of Germany (2019: 1.32 million). With 9.7%, the share of these domains increased considerably (2019: +7.9%) and accounted for 8.7% of all .de domains at the end of 2020 (2019: +8.1%). The holders of .de domains residing outside of Germany originated from all over the world. As in the past, German domains were particularly popular in the United States (23%), the Netherlands (13%) and in the Russian Federation (9%). Germany’s European neighbours Austria and Switzerland also had a 7% and 6% share respectively in .de domains for non-German-based holders, and Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates accounted for 4% each.

To see the 2020 DENIC Domain Statistics in more detail, go to:

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