Insights Nominet publishes “Our Digital lifelines during lockdown: what the .uk domain name stats reveal”

Nominet has published statistics on how the nation has embraced being online in the face of lockdown. Categorising new registrations by the words appearing in domain names indicated that registrations related to delivery services soared by 78% compared to pre-lockdown, reflecting many businesses quickly adapting their business model to survive a rapidly changing consumer landscape.

As the wider economic impact hit, for the first time in eight years April saw record numbers of newly registered domains (147,706), as well as a 12% (15,946) increase compared to registrations over the previous month in March. Numbers of new registrations have continued to rise through May and June.

Key findings include:

  • fashion (28%), exercise (23%) and food and drink (22%) related domains saw some of the biggest increases in website registrations;
  • there has also been a 20% increase in registrations by individuals suggesting an enterprising response to COVID-19 as people took their hobbies online;
  • small businesses pivoted to selling their products and services online as premises closed. Indeed, daily registrations of domains that highlight they are “online”, “virtual” or “live” more than doubled over this period;
  • domains related to learning have been steadily rising since lockdown as children were home-schooled. This peaked in early May when the Government announced that schools would soon be opening their doors to some children again, but remains 20% higher than levels before lockdown;
  • registrations of websites with traditional-business related terms (like “consultancy” and “limited”) fell by 60% from February to March due to economic uncertainty, however these had returned to normal levels by the end of May;
  • registrations of construction related websites fell by 25%, suggesting a slowdown in new business ventures as building work and the supplies required slowed. In addition to this, as people embraced DIY throughout lockdown, the number of handyman- and decorator-related domains fell by 14%; and
  • PPE related websites unsurprisingly increased just after the Government announced the need for more supplies and slowed towards the end of May. At the beginning of March there were ten .uk registrations a day related to keywords around hygiene and management of the virus, including “virus”, “hygiene”, and “distancing”, rising to around 200 a day on March 23rd.

Nominet has also stepped up checks in new registrations to mitigate against fraudulent activity during the pandemic. This includes adding new search terms into checks on new registrations to catch those with malintent. To date Nominet has placed 3,274 domains related to COVID-19 on hold at the point of registration pending further registrant checks. Over 1,200 of these domains have now passed due diligence and are now registered in the namespace. Seven domains have been suspended from criminal activity related to COVID-19. To read Nominet’s news release in full and for a link to the statistics, click here.