The boom in COVID-19 pandemic domain name registrations for .ie has continued into the first half of 2021, with the first half of 2021 being the best half year on record for the Irish ccTLD.
A total of 33,815 new .ie domains were registered in the six month period, up 1.6% on the same period last year. At the end of June 2021 there was a total 324,074 .ie domains in the database, up 9.6% on the same period last year.
“These figures are good news for the Irish economy given that new domain registrations are a forward indicator of digital intent and future e-commerce activity,” said David Curtin, Chief Executive of .IE.
According to the latest half-yearly .IE Domain Profile Report, new .ie registrations in from January to June correlated with the Irish government’s pandemic restrictions. Broken down, new registrations were up 34% on Q1 2020 but down 22% on Q2 2020. For comparison, lockdown commenced only midway through the final month of Q1 2020, reaching its peak in Q2.
Q1 2021 was dominated by the strict post-Christmas lockdown, but Q2 was largely defined by the re-opening of non-essential retail and hospitality and acceleration of the vaccine rollout.
There was an increase of almost two-thirds (64%) in the number of new .ie web addresses with ‘outdoor summer’-related keywords in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. The report shows .ie web addresses containing the word ‘pool’ increased by 187.5%, ‘barbecue’ by 100%, and ‘tent’ by 55.6%, among other outdoor activities and hospitality products.
Pandemic-related keywords, such as ‘Covid’, ‘sanitiser’, and ‘vaccine’, decreased by three-quarters (76.4%) in H1 2021 vs H1 2020, while general health-related keywords, such as ‘doctor’, ‘pharmacy’, ‘wellness’, and ‘fitness’ increased by 18.8%.
“Homeware stores, garden centres, GPs, and pharmacists who may previously have been reluctant to invest in their online presence are now benefiting from the convenience and revenue-generating power of online sales and virtual consultations,” said Curtin.
.IE has just over half (51%) of all domain name registrations within the Irish republic followed by .com (32%). .IE is also the second fastest-growing ccTLD in Europe, growing by 9.6% year-on-year, behind Portugal’s .PT, with 10.8% growth year-on-year, but ahead of Estonia’s .ee (up 9.1%), Lithuania’s .lt (7.7%) and France’s .fr (7.6%).
When it comes to security though the Irish country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is lagging, with only 0.11% of all .ie domain names with DNSSEC enabled and 0.01% of all domains secured with a Registry Lock. There were also 100,576 .ie domain names that had a website with a https security certificate, up 20.4% for the year.