Afnic has published its annual review of .FR, which presents the figures behind a remarkable performance that should be analysed in the light of an exceptional context.
With 3,670,372 domain names at 31 December 2020, i.e. up 7% compared to 2019 with a net balance of 241,421 names, growth of the .FR domain has almost doubled (vs. 3.7% in 2019). It is above that of the French market, which recorded a 6.1% increase for all TLDs combined, and that of the global market which posted just 1.4%.
The digital transformation of businesses at work
Market share of the .FR domain stood at 38% in 2020, up 0.3 pp, while .COM fell 0.6 pp.
This trend in .FR is primarily correlated with the acceleration of the digital transformation of companies of all sizes. Not all .FR create operations are for business start-ups, but in the context of a gloomy overall climate, businesses, retailers and tradespersons are counting on the development of their online presence to help them get through the crisis. Afnic’s efforts towards VSEs / SMEs, carried out since 2014 through the Réussir en .fr program, took on their full meaning and were further strengthened in 2020 with the Je passe au numérique initiative intended to support crafts persons and retailers in their online presence process.
An acceleration throughout the country and the strengthened appeal of “Made in France”
The digital transformation has accelerated throughout the country, despite some disparities. Thus, with +9.8%, Brittany is in the lead, followed by the overseas territories +9.6%, Normandy +8.2% and New Aquitaine +8%. With its 30% market share, Greater Paris remains in the lead but only recorded a growth of 5.5%, coming in at the end of the ranking. These figures confirm the “catching up” dynamics observed in previous years, but reinforced by the crisis. Companies located in the regions have invested more heavily in their online presence than companies in the Paris region, which are already more heavily equipped.
What are the prospects for 2021?
Two factors will condition the activity of the .FR in 2021. First, the acceleration of the digital transformation, observed during the periods of lockdown but whose gains seem likely to be sustained over time, establishing the website as a leading tool for French companies. Secondly, the economic context, which, while playing in favour of this digital transformation, may also lead to company failures and a slowdown in investments and new projects.
Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.
In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, donates 90% of its profits to its Foundation for Digital Solidarity. Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.
Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has 80 employees.