The January 2015 edition of the Afnic Industry Report on Domain Names reviews the developments and trends in the French domain name market in 2014 after the opening of the new gTLDs.
The .fr TLD represented 2,853,406 domain names as at 31 December 2014, an increase of 5.06% in 2014. This performance continued to be higher than that of the French market (+ 4.9%), the world market (+ 4.3% according to our estimates) and the European market (+ 2.2%).
According to the data provided by ZookNIC, the domain name market in France represented approximately 7.9 million domain names all TLD types combined, highlighting the market share of the .fr TLD at 36.4% against 36.5% at year-end 2014. The stability of the .fr market share is to be compared with the slowdown in conventional gTLDs (.com, .net, .org, etc.) that dropped from 59% to 57.8 %. The erosion of the conventional gTLD market share is offset almost exactly by the 1.3% market share gained by the new TLDs launched by ICANN early in 2014.
In France, it is therefore the conventional gTLDs that have been impacted by the arrival of the newcomers much more than the .fr TLD. Also worth noting is the fact that the market as a whole saw its growth rate over 12 months stabilize from the summer of 2014 onwards, the launch of numerous nTLDs (nearly 400 opened at year-end 2014) offsetting the slowdown observed since 2012.
At the end of 2014, more than 100,000 new domain names had been registered in France (source: ZookNIC) including 56,000 under the .ovh gTLD, 13,500 for the .paris gTLD, and 3,300 with the .bzh gTLD (source: Afnic). Afnic’s market share as an nTLD registry operator in France was thus approximately 72.5%.
Focus on the .fr TLD
- At 31/12/2014, there were 196,807 DNSSEC-signed domain names under the .fr TLD, or 6.9% of the stock (against 102,898 and 3.8% at year-end 2013). The number of signed names almost doubled therefore in 2014.
- The proportion of domain names with accented characters decreased however, down from 1% (26,828 names) at year-end 2013 to 0.9% (24,878 names).
- Holders continued to be mainly concentrated in France (94.3% against 95.1% at year-end 2013). The top five departments in which holders were located were Paris (75), Hauts de Seine (92), the Rhône (69), Haute-Garonne (31) and the Bouches du Rhône (13). These departments alone accounted for 32.3% of the stock of domain names under the .fr TLD at year-end 2014 (against 32.6% at end-2013, a proportion that is remarkable for its stability). Holders located abroad were mainly in Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Switzerland, for a total of 68.4% (against 71% in 2013).
- The .fr market continued to be relatively concentrated, the first three registrars having a combined market share of 59.4% at year-end 2014 against 59.6% in 2013. This very slight decline underscores the presence of relatively dynamic “challengers” that managed to gain market share in 2014.
AFNIC is the French Registry for the .fr (France), .re (Reunion Island), .yt (Mayotte), .wf (Wallis and Futuna), .tf (French Southern Territories), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon). It is a non-profit organisation.