65,113 new .IE domains were registered in 2020, the highest ever figure and an almost 30% increase on 2019, according to the latest edition of the .IE Domain Profile Report, which explores and analyses the .IE database. For the first time ever, .IE domain registrations increased, year-on-year, in every county in Ireland.

Peaks and troughs in new .IE registrations generally followed the Government’s restrictions on travel and business. The highest peak occurred in May, when 7,003 new .IE domains were registered, the highest number ever registered in a single month.

This occurred approximately six weeks after the closure of non-essential retail. This peak began to drop off from June, as restrictions eased, but moved up sharply in October, peaking again in November corresponding to the announcement of the second national lockdown.

Pandemic-Related Keywords

The pandemic influenced the online identities chosen in 2020, which is evident in the words used in new .IE domain web addresses. “Health” and “Covid” were the second and fourth most common keywords respectively.

315 .IE domains containing the word “mask” or “facemask” were registered in 2020 compared to just 6 in 2019; 61 containing the word “remote” (e.g. remote work) were registered in 2020 compared to 5 in 2019.

General health-related keywords, including “wellness”, “supplement”, “pharmacy”, and “fitness”, increased 92% year-on-year.

178 .IE web addresses containing the words “mental health” or “counselling” were registered in 2020, up from 87 in 2019 (+105%). 89 .IE domains containing the words “doctor” or “nurse” were registered vs 62 in 2019 (+44%).

Strong Support for Buy Irish

David Curtin, Chief Executive of the .IE registry, says that the increase demonstrates a “mass mobilisation of digital in every part of the economy and society” in response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s further evidence of the drive to digital we’ve observed at Blacknight, with businesses selling online for the first time, and strong support for Buy Irish initiatives such as Champion Green. An Post reports that half of the 14 million parcels it delivered in December came from Irish retailers.

Mr Curtin said that the Central Bank recognises new .IE registrations as a forward indicator of economic health.

“While new company start-ups fell in 2020 overall because of the pandemic, the .IE Domain Profile Report indicates that entrepreneurs and new businesses are taking a ‘digital-first’ approach and ensuring that they secure their preferred online identity with a .IE domain name, before they register their company as a legal entity.”

For the first time ever, every county in Ireland recorded an increase in .IE domain registrations. Counties Clare, Monaghan, Limerick, and Tipperary recorded increases in .ie domain registrations in every month of 2020, compared to 2019.

At the end of 2020, the total number of .ie domains in the database was 309,853. The .ie domain now accounts for 51% of all domains hosted in Ireland, followed by .com (32%) and .uk (8%).

You can download the full report here: IE Domain Profile Report 2020.

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