Strong internet economy
The continued growth of .nl says much about the strength of the Dutch market. The overall number of domain names held by Dutch registrants is now estimated to be nine million. That's the third highest total in Europe – quite extraordinary for a country with a population of just seventeen million. The high level of domain name ownership reflects the strength of the internet economy in the Netherlands. It is with good reason that our digital infrastructure is now known as the country's third main port, alongside Rotterdam seaport and Schiphol airport.
Growth in e-commerce set to continue
Demand for domain names is being driven mainly by the growth of e-commerce. Since 2014, various organisations, including Thuiswinkel.org, have been reporting eye-catching growth figures for webshops. Another influential factor has been the rise of self-employment and entrepreneurship. For independent professionals and start-ups, a website is a must. In the same period, the business community has become significantly more positive about the prospects for e-commerce. Businesses now anticipate increased investment in internet-based activities over the next three years.
However, the demand for domain names is more broadly based. In recent years, older people have been catching up in terms of internet use. And not only traditional computer-based internet use. By last summer, 55 per cent of over-65s had smartphones. People in that age-group were also registering domain names, but mainly with a view to having more personal e-mail addresses. That's now unusual amongst young people, who have largely given up e-mail for Whatsapp.
In short, 2016 was a good year and the prospects for 2017 look at least as rosy.