2020 was a year of accelerated digitisation. This trend is also reflected in the growth of domains registered under the German country code .de. In 2020, the number of .de domains registered in the cities and districts of Germany increased by nearly a quarter of a million. Every year, the precise geographic distribution of .de domains is mapped in the annual regional domain statistics published by DENIC. The registry managing all domains with the ending .de now presents the results of 2020.
As of 31 December 2020, 15.2 million .de domains were registered in the 401 cities and districts of Germany. Adding to these numbers were more than 1.5 million domains of holders whose place of residence was abroad. In total, more than 16.7 million .de domains were registered at the end of 2020. Domain development in general was very positive, with growth being more pronounced in the south than in the north of Germany. The west-east divide in the distribution of domains across Germany increased slightly.
Municipal Level: Growth of .de Domain Numbers in German Districts Exceeds Increase in the Cities
Looking at absolute domain numbers, the top places were held by the same large cities with the same ranking as in the preceding year. Scoring 988,795 .de domains, Berlin stayed clearly in the lead, far ahead of Munich (630,403) and Hamburg (587,237) on ranks two and three. When referring the number of .de domains to the number of inhabitants, the top three at municipal level also remained unchanged. Osnabruck came first again: With 1,563 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants, it still was far ahead of the other two top runners in the city league, Munich (428) and Bonn (376). In regard to the districts, the frontrunners were located in the south of Germany again, namely Bavaria: With 489 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants, Starnberg maintained its leading position, Freising (422) and the district of Munich (364) followed at a distance. The national average was 183 .de domains per 1,000 inhabitants (higher individual statistical values reflect local domain investors with larger-scale domain portfolios). About one quarter of the cities and districts included in the analysis exceeded the reference value, whereby the number of cities (51) with above-average values was higher than the respective number of districts (42). Measured in absolute numbers, domain growth was considerably more pronounced in the 291 districts (+154,000) than in the 110 cities (+96,000).
Regional Level: The South of Germany Scores Larger Domain Increase than the North – Growth in the West Still Stronger than in the East of Germany
The ranking on the federal-state level for the number of domains related to inhabitants also was consistent in 2020. The state of Hamburg – comprising the city of Hamburg and its wider outskirts – with 319 domains per 1,000 inhabitants maintained its uncontested leading position and stayed far ahead of Berlin (271) and the state of Bavaria with its vast lands (209). The state of Saxony-Anhalt (84) once again brought up the rear behind the states of Thuringia (105) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (108). With a plus of 1.7 percent on the previous year (+0.2%), the overall national growth rate related to the number of domains gained strong momentum. Looking at the complete German territory, a total of seven federal states scored values above the mean value, with Bremen (+7.6%) and Brandenburg (+3.4%) in the lead. Hamburg (+2.4%), Bavar-ia (+2.3%), Hesse (+2.2%), Baden-Württemberg (+1.9%) and Lower Saxony (+1.8%) also achieved above-average growth. A decline in or stagnating domain numbers per 1,000 inhabitants was experienced by Berlin (-0.4%) and Saarland (0%).
Excluding Berlin (-0.4%), the average percentage domain growth among the states in the east of Germany (+1.5%) fell considerably short of that of those in the west (+1.9%). Domain growth in 2020 was located primarily in the south on Germany. As in the last year, the largest number of domains was recorded for North Rhine-Westphalia (3,303,069), which was followed by Bavaria (2,735,576). The so-called Free State of Saxony with 532,268 registered .de domains achieved the highest density among the federal states in the east of the country and maintained place ten again in the overall German ranking. The smallest number of .de domains – even though it scored the highest percentage growth on an annual basis – reported the city state of Bremen (120,037).
International Level: Surging Popularity of .de Also Beyond German Borders
Compared on an annual level, the overall number of .de domains under management increased by 2.3 percent compared to a plus of 0.7 percent in 2018/2019. This is an increase of 376,000 .de domains (2019: +120,000 domains). The more than 16.7 million .de domains that were registered at the end of 2020 included more than 1.45 million domains of holders residing outside of Germany (2019: 1.32 million). With +9.7 percent, the share of these domains increased considerably (2019: +7.9%) and accounted for 8.7 percent of all .de domains at the end of 2020 (2019: +8.1%). The holders of .de domains residing outside of Germany originated from all over the world. As in the past, German domains were particularly popular in the United States (23%), the Netherlands (13%) and in the Russian Federation (9%). Germany's European neighbours Aus-tria and Switzerland also had a 7- and 6-percent share each in the .de domains with non-German-based holders, and Great Britain and the United Arab Emirates accounted for 4 percent each.
All in all, 16,700,855 domains were registered with DENIC on 31 December 2020. Statistically, every fifth inhabitant of the Federal Republic of Germany had registered a domain under the TLD .de.
Detailed online data available
You find comprehensive data and graphic material as well as the complete regional analysis in form of an Excel file for all the 401 cities and districts in the statistics section of the DENIC website at https://www.denic.de/en/know-how/statistics/. We also make available the annual analyses since 1995. In addition to absolute values, the statistics provide data on the number of domains related to the number of inhabitants, complemented by maps and diagrams showing the absolute and the relative distribution of domestic domains as well as of domain holders residing outside of Germany.