Irish firms miss out on Europe’s digital revolution despite .ie domain surge

5 Feb 2016

More .ie domains were registered in 2015 than ever before, but Irish businesses are still lagging their European counterparts

In what is the highest annual number since 2011, some 35,225 new .ie domains were registered in 2015 – that’s 96 domains a day – an increase of 13pc on 2014, according to the .ie Domain Registry (IEDR).

“This is a very encouraging number,” said IEDR chief executive David Curtin. “Considering almost 75pc of all new .ie domain registrations in 2015 were by companies and sole traders, this rise correlates with positive trends in the wider economy and represents a positive leading indicator of business confidence.”

According to the .ie Domain Profile Report for 2015, counties Dublin, Cork and Galway accounted for 58pc of all new .ie registrations.

‘Access to the global digital economy has transformative effects on business’

Dublin, with 71, has the highest number of .ie domains per 1,000 people, followed by Carlow (52) and Wicklow (48). Donegal, with 18 .ie domains per 1,000 people, has the lowest rate in the Republic of Ireland.

According to the IEDR, 64pc of new .ie domains in 2015 were registered in Leinster, followed by 17pc in Munster; 8pc in Connacht; and 4pc in Ulster. 7pc were registered overseas.

Internationally, Ireland, with 46, ranks 17th in the EU for number of country domains per 1,000 people, ahead of France (45) and Spain (39), but behind countries with similar populations, like Norway (134) and Denmark (233).

In 2015, private and public limited companies made up nearly 50pc of all new .ie registrations, followed by sole traders at 25pc.

In the digital stakes, Irish SMEs lag behind their European counterparts

Curtin warned, however, that there is room for improvement as Ireland lags behind its European counterparts.

While there has been a slight increase in the number of .ie domains per 1,000 people since the second half of 2015, Ireland still ranks behind many of its EU peers, and significantly behind those with similar population sizes, like Norway and Denmark.

“There are also clear regional disparities in .ie uptake within Ireland. The three big cities dominate the .ie domain space, with rural Munster, Connacht and Ulster lagging behind, quite substantially in some counties. Ongoing infrastructural problems, like a lack of broadband and access to digital enterprise programmes, are stifling growth and innovation.

“Government and industry must continue to work together to get rural Ireland online, building websites and engaging in e-commerce. Access to the global digital economy has transformative effects on business,” Curtin said.

Curtin cited the IEDR’s €150,000 OPTIMISE fund, which helps 15 businesses a year improve their digital presence, but said more needs to be done.

Digital revolution image via Shutterstock


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years