Market survey 2020

Year of accelerated digitalisation

The speed of digitalisation accelerated in 2020. This is apparent from the annual market survey conducted by Insites Consulting for DNS Belgium. 

We want our domain name yesterday

It's not only  business-minded Belgians who are registering domain names more often now. Generally speaking, Belgians are more inclined to do so compared to previous years. In 2019, 35 percent of the surveyed Belgians was considering registering a domain name. By 2020, this number had risen to 42 percent.

28 percent of the people who registered a domain name in 2020, said they did so sooner than expected because of the crisis. Business-minded Belgians are - as in previous years - still the most likely to register a domain name. And unlike previous years, they want to do this sooner: 17 percent preferably within two years, another 21 percent between 3 and 5 years. More so than in the past, it seems that a domain name is part and parcel of doing business.

Too expensive? Better on social media?

When we ask business-minded Belgians why they still are hesitating to register a domain name, two reasons always come up. The price of a domain name and the possibility to use a page on social media instead of their own website. Naturally, we're not particularly happy about that. Especially because a website need not be expensive and there are plenty of good reasons to prefer your own website over a page on social media for your business.

In a lockdown year such as 2020, it's not surprising we made more online purchases.

Inform, shop, communicate and do business

Belgians primarily use the internet to look for information. In a lockdown year such as 2020, it's not surprising we made more online purchases. No less than 86 percent of all surveyed Belgians did so in 2020. In fact, that percentage is even higher among entrepreneurial Belgians (93%) and registrants (95%). Communication is the third reason why Belgians use the internet. Women are more likely to use the internet to communicate and make online purchases than men. Men are more likely to have their own website.

Internet use during the corona crisis differs considerably among entrepreneurial Belgians. They use the internet even more to communicate, to look for information, to make online purchases, to create a website, etc. The internet seems to have become the ideal professional tool for them. But they believe their internet use will decrease again after the crisis. This is in contrast to the average Belgian. Only 18 percent think their internet use will decrease again after the crisis.

Online more often and more securely

Fortunately, the increase in internet use is also accompanied by an increase in vigilance. Our market survey showed that 61 percent of surveyed Belgians has security concerns while surfing (in 2019, this was 49 percent). The fact that we are vigilant is a positive development of course.

In 2019, 52 percent of surveyed people did not visit websites that looked untrustworthy; in 2020, this was already 73 percent. The three main reasons for trusting or not trusting a website are unchanged in 2020: the extension, the domain name and the encryption. The extensions that inspire most trust are .be and .com. This has been the case for years.

Our survey has shown we are increasingly mindful of the domain names of the websites we visit. If they look suspicious, we don't go there. This is already one excellent reason to come up with a good domain name. The third main reason why we may or may not trust a website is an encrypted connection between your computer and the website. A website starting with: https:// inspires more trust than one starting with: http://.

.be and .com remain the most popular extensions. This has been the case for years and is not likely to change.

Everyone with a domain name is going to keep it after the crisis, regardless of whether corona was the reason for registering a domain name or not. For all surveyed Belgians (including business-minded people and registrants), .be and .com remain the most popular extensions. This has been the case for years and is not likely to change.

What did change in 2020 is the familiarity with other extensions such as .fr .eu .nl .org .net. The popularity of .online, .brussels, .jobs has also increased strongly. The fact that .be and .com have been leading the popularity poll for years, is due to the fact that we easily remember these extensions and associate them with reliability. They remain the first and most logical choices for enterprising Belgians who are considering registering a domain name. For them, .be is very versatile and reliable whereas .com is linked more to business-oriented purposes.