At the end of 2016, a total of 221,871 .ie domains were registered in Ireland and around the world, according to new figures released today by the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the company responsible for managing and maintaining Ireland’s country code domain name extension – .ie.

34,615 were registered last year alone, the second highest year for new registrations since 2011. That equates to approximately 94 new .ie registrations every day in 2016.

The findings were revealed in the latest edition of the IEDR’s dot ie Domain Profile Report, which examines the makeup of the .ie domain database.

72% of all new registrations in 2016 were made by businesses (corporate bodies and sole traders).

In 2016, the majority of new .ie domains (93%) were registered on the island of Ireland. 31,665 were registered in the Republic of Ireland, a 2% decrease on 2015; and 560 in Northern Ireland, a 9% increase on 2015. 2,390 were registered internationally, a 4% increase on 2015.

Leinster registered the greatest number of new .ie domains in 2016 (67%), followed by Munster (19%), Connacht (8.5%) and Ulster (5%). Divided further, Dublin accounted for 44% of all new .ie registrations, or 14,187, followed by Cork (9%, 2,837) and Galway (5%, 1,512).

Fermanagh registered only 31 .ie domains in 2016, the smallest number in Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland overall. Leitrim registered the fewest .ie domains in the Republic – just 130.

Compared to 22 European countries, Ireland, with 47, ranks joint 18th with France for the number of country code domains per 1,000 people.* Many other countries with similar and smaller populations fare far better, including Denmark (233 .dk domains per 1,000 people), Norway (136 .no domains) and Lithuania (63 .lt domains).

Commenting on the latest report, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR, said: “2016 was one of the best years for the .ie domain in the last five years. More than 90 domains were registered every day, and the majority of registrations were by businesses.

“This indicates that many companies and sole traders understand the importance of having a website and value of .ie’s ‘Identifiably Irish’ brand, which helps to tell the world that they are Irish.

“However, some Irish SMEs do not fully appreciate a website’s power to transform their business, particularly in terms of opening up new revenue streams and growing customer bases through e-commerce. Our most recent dot ie Digital Health Index discovered that just 28% of Irish SMEs can process payments online, while two-thirds of offline SMEs believe there is ‘no need’ to have a website in their industry—despite the fact that Ireland’s share of the digital marketplace is worth over €9 billion per annum and growing.

“This latest dot ie Domain Profile Report shows that the majority of all new .ie registrations in 2016, 53%, were registered in Dublin and Cork. A slow uptake of e-commerce is linked to a number of factors, including the quality and indeed availability of broadband infrastructure in rural areas. This remains an insurmountable barrier for many SMEs located outside the big cities and major towns. On a positive note, ongoing e-commerce mentoring from business associations and government is beginning to help rural SMEs’ attempts to trade online and improve their digital skills.

“These problems are reflected in Ireland’s 18th place European ranking for the number of country domains per 1,000 people. The Irish internet industry, business groups and leaders, and government representatives must continue to work together to make sure that the benefits of e-commerce and the wider digital economy are enjoyed equally across the country.”

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