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.FR in 2020: acceleration of the digital transformation among businesses and retailers

Press release

March 11, 2021 -

Afnic publishes its annual review of .FR and presenting the figures behind a remarkable performance that should be analysed in the light of an exceptional context.

  • .FR posted 7% growth in one year, i.e. double that of 2019, and a market share of 38% of the domain names in France in 2020
  • .FR growth exceeds both that of the market and its competitors
  • The regions are closing the gap with the Ile-de-France region

Today, Afnic, the association responsible for .FR domain names, is publishing its annual review of .FR and presenting the figures behind a remarkable performance that should be analysed in the light of an exceptional context.

With 3,670,372 names in stock at 31 December 2020, i.e. up 7% compared to 2019 with a net balance of 241,421 names, growth of the .FR domain has almost doubled (vs. 3.7% in 2019). It is notably also above that of the French market, which recorded a 6.1% increase for all TLDs combined, and that of the global market which posted just 1.4%.

“2020 demonstrated the strong dynamic of the French domain name industry, in that it relies less on registrations filed with a view to domaining operations than on those filed for purposes of genuine use” says Pierre Bonis, CEO of Afnic.

The digital transformation of businesses at work

Market share of the .FR domain stood at 38% in 2020, up 0.3 pp, while .COM fell 0.6 pp. This trend in .FR is primarily correlated with the acceleration of the digital transformation of companies of all sizes. Not all .FR create operations are for business start-ups, but in the context of a gloomy overall climate, businesses, retailers and tradespersons are counting on the development of their online presence to help them get through the crisis. The 3% decline in the number of delete operations, while stocks increased, confirms this analysis.

Completion rates of Internet projects among .FR holders were higher than usual, and some holders decided to retain registered domain names so as to be able to use them for new projects”, explains Pierre Bonis, CEO of Afnic  


Flows of .FR activity in 2020

An acceleration across the country and heightened appeal of Made in France

The digital transformation has accelerated across the country, despite some disparities. Brittany leads the field at +9.8%, closely followed by the Overseas Territories at +9.6%, Normandy at +8.2% and Nouvelle-Aquitaine at +8.0%. The Île-de-France is still ahead of the pack with 30% market share, but recorded just 5.5% growth, placing it last in this ranking.

These figures confirm the catch-up dynamics seen in previous years and accentuated by the health crisis. Companies in the provinces have made more significant investments in their online presence than those in the Paris region, which were already well-equipped”, adds Pierre Bonis. “Another attraction of the .FR domain is that it is accessible, low-cost, and provides assurances in terms of uses, maintenance and security. .FR is now a brand that addresses the issues of relocation and quality, big concerns for French people”, Pierre Bonis explains.


Distribution of the .FR by holder region

2021 outlook

The activity of the .FR domain in 2021 will depend largely on two factors:

  • on the one hand, the acceleration of the digital transformation, observed during lockdown but set to consolidate over time, imposing websites as an invaluable tool for French businesses;
  • on the other hand, the economic context, which while working in favour of this digital transformation, may also lead to business failures and a slowdown in investments and new projects.

The important takeaways from 2020 are that .FR names were registered overwhelmingly for real projects and uses; and that this TLD has proved more popular than its rivals, seeing its market share grow over the past few months.

In this context, Afnic’s efforts aimed at VSEs/SMEs, in place since 2014 with the ‘Ré’ (‘Succeed with .fr’) scheme, have come into their own and have been further strengthened by the ‘Je passe au numérique’ (‘I’m going digital’) initiative designed to support crafts workers and small traders with their online presence. More than ever, Afnic is a key player in the development of the Internet in France and a privileged partner for public authorities and private structures alike, first and foremost VSEs and SMEs.” sums up Pierre Bonis.


Download the Afnic study 'The .FR in 2020"




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Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.
In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic's role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, donates 90% of its profits to its Foundation for Digital Solidarity. Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.
Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has 80 employees.