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Afnic Study: The Global Domain Name Market in 2016

June 19, 2017

Afnic has published a complete overview of the global domain market in 2016.

Afnic has published a complete overview of the global domain market in 2016 in a study based on ICANN statistics, information from registries, specialized web sites and its own research.

Key points to remember

  • Overall market growth in 2016 was 7.1%,  down from 11.7% in 2015.
  • At the end of 2016, the global domain name market represented some 338 million domain names, including 169 million under Legacy TLDs (.COM, .NET, .ORG, etc.), 28 million under  nTLDs created from 2014 onwards, and 141 million under ccTLDs (GeoTLDs).
  • The situation of the "Legacy" TLDs varied quite considerably in 2016, some losing stock while others made marked progress. With its 131 million domain names and 39% market share, the .COM remained the market heavyweight but its positions are slowly being eroded, with a loss of 3 market share points since year-end 2014. Its growth has also considerably slowed down (from 6.4% to 3.7%).
  • nTLDs continued to gain market share in terms of volume, accounting for 8% of the domain names registered worldwide at year-end 2016, compared with 4% at year-end 2015. This development in the use of nTLDs is encouraging, although its level is still low. The nTLD market can be broken down into segments - Community, Geo, Generic and Corp - with very different purposes and profiles, from the hundreds of .Corp that only hold a few names, to generic TLDs involved in a race for volume.
  • Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs)which had an excellent year in 2015, experienced zero growth in 2016. Africa and North America were the most dynamic regions in 2016, while Europe in comparison stagnated. Latin America is growing slowly but surely, and the Asia-Pacific region is subject to very strong variations both upwards and downwards. That region today is the one that determines the overall market trend.

Major market trends in 2016

Since 2014, the market has undergone major upheavals caused by changes linked to the aim of market participants to diversify their sources of income, but also to pursue integration strategies within the value chain.

After boosting the performance of some TLDs in 2015, "Chinese domain name filings" are now weighing on the growth of these same TLDs because of the numerous deletions.

The build-up of the financial sphere in the capital of certain major players is resulting in ambitious strategies while subjecting the market to new frames of reference and changes in management teams.

The intensification of competition and the absolute necessity to optimize the match between supply and demand will continue to weigh on the players and force them to rethink their business models and their positions more than they have ever done since the market first emerged twenty years ago.



View the complete study of the worldwide domain name market in 2016




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Afnic (the French acronym for "Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération" i.e. the French Network Information Centre), is a non-profit association. Appointed by the State to manage domain names under the .fr TLD, it promotes use of the namespace by entrepreneurs and individuals. As the incumbent manager of the .fr TLD with more than 3.2 million domain names to date, it is also positioned as a provider of technical solutions and registry services: it currently manages 14 projects for new gTLDs, including .paris and .bzh. Afnic is located in Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, where its staff of 80 work for the common good of the French Internet. Afnic donates 90% of the profits from the .fr TLD to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity, which finances inclusive Internet projects in France and its overseas territories.