Decline in TLD Growth Rates Stabilises: CENTR Report

Growth rates among the 1,500 plus top level domains available around the world has continued to decrease, with the trend being consistent since early 2016 when quarterly growth rates peaked. This was the main finding of CENTR’s latest quarterly DomainWire Global TLD Report for the third quarter of 2017. The decline also followed 2 years after the launch of the first of the new gTLDs in January 2014.

The report notes there’s 311 million domains under management across the 1,500-plus top-level domains globally. Over the past 2 years, quarterly growth rates have been decreasing since peaks in early 2016. The slowdown according to the report is the result of deletes after a period of increased investment from Chinese registrants. Additionally the 2 largest of the new gTLDs, .xyz and .top, have contracted significantly. Without these outliers, global TLD growth would be at 1.0% for the quarter ending 30 September and 2.5% year-on-year.

The report also notes there are around 71 million domains registered across 56 ccTLDs in the European region. Overall growth over the region was 1.8% with a median rate of 2.9%. Across Europe, ccTLDs have a market share of around 58%, up 0.5% for the year, with an average renewal rate of 84%. Legacy gTLDs make up 39% and the new gTLDs make up 2.4%.

Globally legacy gTLDs made up 52.7% of all DUM, while ccTLDs accounted for 40.7%. The reduction in .xyz and .top meant the market share for new gTLDs dropped from 7.5% at the end of the second quarter to 6.6%. As legacy gTLDs and ccTLDs were not affected by this drop, the report suggests previous gains in those TLDs may have been speculative.

The report also breaks down growth rates for large, medium and small registries for the European ccTLDs. Growth rates have declined to just over 2% for the large ccTLDs and just under 4% for the small and medium sized ccTLDs.

When looking at year-on-year growth rates, the report shows that the median growth rates peaked between 2015 and 2016. This was in part attributable to an increase in registrations from Chinese registrants during that period. Since then, those domains are being dropped and growth is returning to stable rates.

Over the past year, the median “growth” rate among most European ccTLDs has become flat; however, there is a small increasing growth trend among some of the larger ccTLDs. Based on data available to CENTR, the stabilisation of growth might be explained by a general down trend in average deletion rates.

Market share of ccTLDs in European countries ranges from 16% to 79%, with an average of 54%. These figures include gTLDs as well as other European ccTLDs registered from within the country. Among the 265 ccTLDs around the world, there was an average growth rate of 2.5% to 126.5 million domains under management.

Excluding the brand TLDs, there are around 671 gTLDs available globally with combined registrations of 185 million. New gTLDs make up around 11% of all gTLDs.

CENTR is the association of European country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries. CENTR currently has 54 full and 9 associate members – together, they are responsible for over 80% of all registered domain names worldwide.

To download the DomainWire Global TLD Report for the third quarter of 2017 in full, go to: and click on “download”.

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