The Irish digital economy recorded a 24 per cent increase in the number of .ie domain registrations in 2021.
With many businesses forced to move online during the pandemic, 62,198 new .ie domains were registered amid Covid-19 lockdowns. This compares to the 50,167 registered in 2019.
Across the island of Ireland, every county other than Armagh recorded an increase in .ie domains in 2021.
As of December 31st 2021, the total number of .ie domains stood at 330,108.
Commenting on the findings, David Curtin, chief executive of .ie, said: “SMEs whose physical premises were shuttered, or only partially open, moved online in order to continue selling to their customers and stay connected.
“In July, registrations bottomed out as reopening continued and the Government encouraged a focus on outdoor activities.”
Although, the link between new .ie registrations and the pandemic appeared to “decouple” later in August, as registrations continued to surge despite the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions
“We believe this decoupling occurred when it did because the Irish economy has, for the most part, exited the ‘acute response’ phase of the pandemic,” Mr Curtin explained.
“Businesses have factored-in the uncertainty of restrictions and reduced trading ability to their commercial operations and planning.
“SMEs are also no longer simply reacting to the pandemic. Instead, consumer behaviours are changing, and SMEs are changing with them.
“Businesses are investing in new websites, integrating e-commerce technology, and making use of productivity-enhancing tools all year round because they now recognise the huge role they play in profitability and customer acquisition.”
At the end of 2021, the .ie domain accounted for 52.6 per cent of all top-level domains hosted in Ireland, while .com accounted for 30.8 per cent of all domains, followed by .uk with 7.6 per cent and .eu with 2.3 per cent.
The .ie domain remains one of the fastest growing country domains in Europe, recording a 6.5 per cent year-on-year growth.