.ie Domain Profile Report 2023

Foreword New domain registrations represent a forward economic indicator and are therefore a good barometer of digital intentions, particularly of SMEs. These good intentions don’t always bear fruit, hence we observe a level of non-renewals and churn annually. We are proud to bring you this annual .ie Domain Profile Report with data and insights which you may find interesting and useful. In this edition, we assess the full year of 2023. We analyse .ie domains in the database, the counties and countries where they were registered and take a look at the broader .ie ecosystem, with some visuals illustrating how Ireland’s urban-rural digital divide continues to narrow. In 2023 there were 48,689 new domain registrations, a modest increase of 0.3 4 % on 2022. The extraordinary levels of growth experienced during the Covid years have tapered off and registration levels have returned to more regular patterns. The percentage of domains that were not renewed increased slightly to 15% (from 14.8% in 2022). At the end of 2023, the database of .ie domains was 328,245, a small net reduction compared to December 2022 (329,265). A significant percentage of the .ie domain database comprises businesses, ranging from solopreneurs to SMEs to larger companies. Businesses of all sizes are now embracing digitalisation, clearly reaping the benefits in terms of efficiency, productivity and cost-saving. The digital transformation journey is being supported by government policy and implemented by government agencies. As SMEs make up 99.8% of the Irish economy, helping them achieve growth and scale is a pressing imperative. The benefits of digital to time-poor SMEs will pay huge dividends, especially to those planning expansion by boosting exports so it is encouraging to see higher levels of digital adoption. GNP is a significant driver of domain growth, so it is unfortunate that the current macro environment remains challenging for businesses. In 2023 SMEs bore the brunt of inflation and higher interest rates, even as Covid-related government supports tapered off, and many now face the prospect of repaying Revenue warehoused debts. Nationally, a Deloitte report shows that business insolvencies increased in 2023 by 25%, with the hospitality sector being particularly impacted. Internationally, the war in Ukraine shows no sign of ending soon, with continued impacts on energy and food supplies. Global uncertainty is also influenced by the US presidential election in 2024 as well as the Israel/Gaza conflict. Despite this drag effect on domain growth, we are pleased that a .ie domain is still the online digital identity of choice for Ireland, with independent research showing .ie with 54.3% of Ireland’s hosted domains, with .com in second place having 29.3% market share (page 11). Cyber crime and online fraud continue to be a drag on digital adoption and risks undermining consumer confidence in e-commerce and digital business. A Banking & Payments Federation Ireland report estimates that fraudsters stole nearly €85 million through online frauds and scams in 2022, an increase of 8.8% on 2021. At .ie, we are working closely with our partners to reduce the level of security threat to .ie websites and domains. This includes manually reviewing .ie applications; continuous security scanning the .ie database; and consumer protection protocols with national regulators and agencies. As a result, Spamhaus, and others, report that the incidence of malware and other forms of technical abuse are considerably lower in .ie than in other top level domains, such as .com. In a special chapter, we set out why we believe that Ireland’s digital services companies and regulators are ill-prepared for the the approaching tsunami of EU cyber regulations (page 3). We also explore what happened to the 115,812 domains registered during the 21-month Covid period and ask “where are they now?" (page 5). We would welcome hearing about your experiences. David Curtin Chief Executive, .ie Contents Foreword Cybersecurity 1 – a key focus for the .ie namespace EU cyber regulations 3 Covid period domains 5 - where are they now? Analysis of .ie domain 7 database and growth Analysis of .ie domains 8 by geography Analysis of .ie domains 9 by county Analysis of .ie domain 10 ecosystem About .ie 12