Good prospects for the internet economy in 2019
The internet economy is thriving. Growth has exceeded the performance of the wider economy for several consecutive years, with on-line service providers benefitting from the economic upturn. But the economic climate is notoriously hard to predict. Will things keep going well? Or will the wind change in 2019? If the general climate does get harsher, what will that mean for the internet economy? While those questions are difficult to answer with confidence, it's clear that the prospects for the next six months are good.
Growth of .nl accelerates in Q4
Various studies have found that new domain name registrations are a good indicator of the appetite for investing in internet-based enterprise. Domain names being registered now are a sure sign of websites and services scheduled for launch in the period ahead. Current registrations predict economic activity for about six months ahead. And, in the closing months of 2018, the rate of new domain name registrations in the Netherlands has increased. Many companies clearly have plans for 2019.
Business community is expecting growth
Last month, we published the latest edition of our two-yearly survey of trends in internet use. That involved asking five hundred businesses about their expectations regarding websites and domain names. The great majority of them (73 per cent) said they expected to register more domain names in the years ahead, with the expansion of on-line activities as the biggest driver.
The 27 per cent that weren't expecting to acquire more domain names were nevertheless positive about prospects for the e-commerce sector. The main reason for thinking that they'd have fewer sites and domains was brand unification. A good example of the consolidation trend is Coolblue. By adopting a single-brand strategy, such companies aim to get their apps on the home screens of consumers' phones.
Smartphone underpins growth
After all, the smartphone is central to the anticipated growth in e-commerce. Already the dominant platform for information searching, over the last two years the smartphone has become an increasingly important purchasing tool. Use of shopping apps has exploded, and so has the number of sites visited.
Are we predicting general economic growth? No. We don't claim to know for sure what the internet economy will do, much less the national economy. However, the signs are positive for Dutch e-commerce.