Regional dynamics under the .fr TLD

July 2015

Between 2010 and 2015 a spectacular catch-up occurred in French regions in which the proportion of domain names registered under the .fr TLD per 1,000 inhabitants were lowest, with the ratio rising from 28 to 41.

A study of the distribution of domain names registered under the .fr TLD per holder region, crossed with the population statistics provided by the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), was used to assess the penetration rate per region, the results being expressed as the number of .fr domain names per 1,000 inhabitants. The analysis of the change between 2010 and 2015 revealed a number of unexpected phenomena.

Table 1 shows that the penetration rate increased from 28 domain names under the .fr TLD per 1000 inhabitants in 2010 to 41 in 2015, an increase of 51% in the index for metropolitan France.


Number of .fr domain names per 1000 inhabitants per region in 2010 and 2015  Table 1: number of domain names under the .fr TLD per 1000 inhabitants per region in 2010 and 2015


The classification of regions by penetration remains broadly unchanged: the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region (PACA) moves up to 3rd place instead of Rhône-Alpes, but the gap between the two regions is merely symbolic. The first place is still held by the Paris region (Ile de France), followed by a "platoon" of three regions with .fr penetration rates higher than 40 per 1000 inhabitants (Midi-Pyrénées, Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur). Picardy, with 21 domain names under the .fr TLD per 1000 inhabitants, is at the bottom of the list, but only slightly behind the Haute-Normandie, Champagne-Ardennes and Limousin regions.

On the other hand, a study of the relative performance in terms of progression shows a significant catch-up dynamic in regions such as Auvergne, Pays de Loire, Franche-Comté or Basse-Normandie. The penetration rates in these rural regions have progressed much more, in terms of relative performance, than the regions at the top of the list (38% for Ile de France, 37% for Midi-Pyrénées against 80% for Auvergne or 73% for the Pays de Loire).


Relative performance of regions in metropolitan France (2010-2015)Relative performance of regions in metropolitan France (2010-2015)

The ratios shown in this table are calculated by comparing the progress in each region with the national average (Metropolitan France).

A value greater than 1 reflects a performance higher than the overall average.


Although the "standings" remained virtually unchanged between 2010 and 2015, the regions that lagged behind in 2010 have caught up since, with their inhabitants and businesses connecting at a faster pace than the regions which, in 2010, already had high Internet connection rates.


 We can draw a number of lessons from these findings:

  • Firstly, the potential remains strong: with less than 50 domain names under the .fr TLD per 1000 inhabitants, there still remains a large proportion of individuals and businesses that do not have a domain name under the .fr TLD.  The reasoning is valid for the entire domain name market in France. Since the market share of the .fr TLD was approximately 36% in early 2015, the global penetration ratio for domain names in metropolitan France – all TLDs included – stood at around 115 domain names per 1,000 inhabitants, against 181 for Germany’s .de TLD (DENIC data). The overall penetration rate for domain names in France is therefore a good third lower than that of the German .de TLD alone;
  • Secondly, during the five years from 2010 to 2015 there was a dramatic increase in the number of domain names registered under the .fr TLD per 1000 inhabitants, despite the sluggish economic background. This alone goes to show that the Internet and domain names are now deeply rooted in social practices, and that growth in their use has a good chance of continuing as e-commerce develops and people fully understand the benefits of having a domain name under the .fr TLD;
  • The regions that used to lag behind in terms of Internet use are the most dynamic today in order to make up for the lost time. That dynamic is a promising source of new markets for various internet service providers.


Lire cette ressource en français Top of the page