The number of .de domain names registered grew by 460,000, or 2.75%, to 17,160,504 in 2021 cementing .de’s position as the world’s largest ccTLD. This was an increase over 2020 when .de domain registrations grew 376,000 or 2.30%.
In their annual Domain Statistics report, DENIC publishes a wealth of information on domain registrations for the German country code top-level domain (ccTLD). As of 31 December there were 15.4 million .de domains registered in the 401 cities and districts of Germany. Adding to these numbers were about 1.7 million domains registered abroad. The 17,160,504 domains mean that statistically every fifth inhabitant of the Federal Republic of Germany had registered a .de domain name.
Depending on how it is counted, .de’s increase could be above or below the average for ccTLDs in 2021. According to Verisign’s DNIB for the fourth quarter of 2021 [pdf], there was a decrease in registrations for ccTLDs of 4.0%. However when excluding China’s .cn, which experienced a registry-implemented zone reduction during 2021 of 9.4 million domain names, ccTLD registrations increased by 3.8%, year over year, which was slightly above .de’s 2.75%.
Domain development was very positive again in 2021. Of the increase in total registrations of 460,000, about 218,000 were registered in German cities and districts. The west-east divide in the distribution of .de domains across Germany remained nearly unchanged.
Looking at absolute domain numbers, the cities with the largest registrations remained the same: Berlin had 1,005,052 .de domains, far ahead of Munich (620,887) and Hamburg (599,586). On a per capita basis, the top ranking also remained the same with Osnabruck (1,572 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants) remaining far ahead of Munich (418) and then Bonn (374).
When it came to districts, the south however dominated. The Bavarian Starnberg was first with 508 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants followed by, Freising (419) and then the district of Munich (371). Across the country the national average was 185 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants. DENIC explains the higher individual statistical values reflect local domain investors with larger-scale domain portfolios.
About one quarter of the cities and districts included in the analysis exceeded the reference value, whereby the number of cities (51) with above-average values was higher than the respective number of districts (42). Measured in absolute numbers, domain growth was considerably more pronounced again in the 291 districts (+137,000) than in the 110 cities (+81,000).
When it comes to registrations at the federal state level, the per capita rankings remained much the same as 2020. The state of Hamburg – comprising the city of Hamburg and its outlying regions – was first with 325 domains per 1,000 inhabitants far ahead of Berlin (274) and the state of Bavaria with its vast lands (209). The state of Saxony-Anhalt (85) once again brought up the rear behind the states of Thuringia (107) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (109).
Looking at the complete German territory, a total of eleven federal states scored values above the mean value, with Bremen (+6.8%), Hamburg (2.1%) and Thuringia (2.0%) in the lead. All German federal states scored an increase in 2021. The percentage growth of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (1.2%), Rhineland-Palatinate (0.7%), Saxony-Anhalt (0.6%), Bavaria (0.3%) and Saarland (0.2%), however, was below the federal average. Excluding Berlin (1.64%), the 2021 average growth in registrations among the states in the east of Germany was 1.47%, slightly higher than that of those in the west (1.42%).
As in recent years, the largest number of domains registered was recorded for North Rhine-Westphalia (3,356,179), which also experienced the highest absolute annual growth (+53,110). The so-called Free State of Saxony with 540,159 registered .de domains achieved the highest density among the federal states in the east of the country and maintained place ten again in the overall German ranking. The smallest number of .de domains – even though it scored the highest percentage growth on an annual basis – continued to be reported for the city state of Bremen (128,253).
Of the 1.7 million domain names registered abroad (1.45 million in 2020), their share increased by 16.8% (2020: 9.7%) and accounted for 9.9% of all .de domains at the end of 2021 (2020: 8.7%). The registrants 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, accounting for one in five (21%) of those registered abroad, followed by the Netherlands (13%), the Russian Federation (9%) and Austria (9%). Switzerland, Great Britain and Portugal accounted for 5% each. The United Arab Emirates (4%), Vietnam (3%) and France (2 %) also were among the top ten; together they made up for just over three quarters of the domain inventory with holders residing outside Germany.