Market survey 2021

11 February 2022

As usual, InSites Consulting conducted an annual survey on behalf of DNS Belgium into the internet usage of Belgians, their confidence in websites, their knowledge of domain names, etc. The main conclusions are summarised below.

In general, we use the internet to

  • Look for information (89%)
  • Shop (84%)
  • Communicate (82%)

Security and trust

We are reasonably well aware of our security and privacy but are no more or less vigilant compared to previous years. Six out of ten Belgians never go to pages that look untrustworthy.  

"A company website inspires more confidence in Belgians than a Facebook page.”

The main criteria as to whether to trust a website are still:

  • the domain name
  • the extension (e.g. .be .com .org)
  • the encryption (https instead of http)

People who already have a domain name appear to be slightly more sensitive about their safety online and are less likely to visit untrustworthy websites. A company website inspires more confidence in all Belgians than a company Facebook page.

Coronavirus and domain names

46% of respondents said they communicate more online since the coronavirus crisis.  

Many people who already had a domain name registered others in the past year.

Many registrants registered another domain name in the past year: from 12% in 2020 to a staggering 39% in 2021.

They did so more than before to promote and give their own business visibility (+11% compared to 2020) and to sell online (+9% compared to 2020). If they do not create a website immediately, they seem to register their domain name mainly in order to have it available in the future.

61% of the registrants surveyed use social media to share their content, in addition to their website. Facebook remains the most popular channel (45%), but an increasingly popular Instagram is close behind (34%). External blog channels and Twitter share third place.

Entrepreneurship = registering a domain name

Entrepreneurial Belgians often consider registering a domain name in the short term.

.be gives an indication of location and exudes reliability.

The price remains an important barrier for enterprising Belgians to register a domain name. Perhaps because of the coronavirus, a new additional reason for not doing so is business uncertainty:  

  • 13% said that there is no longer a reason to register a domain name.
  • 18%  said that the future of their business project was uncertain.

A domain name appears to be inextricably linked to entrepreneurship. Almost 40 per cent of registrants registered a domain name as soon as they had the idea for their own business.

Belgian through and through

62% of them spontaneously thought of a .be domain name. The main reason why domain name holders choose .be is because it says something about their location (68%). The second reason is closely related: a .be domain name also says something about the audience you want to reach with your website (52%). The third most cited reason (33%) is because it says something about the company or the registrant himself.  

So .be is inextricably linked to your target audience, the market in which you operate and the Belgian identity of your business.

.be and .com still at the top

It comes as no surprise therefore that .be and .com remain the most popular extensions. They are the extensions with which we associate domain names spontaneously. This is also true for business-minded Belgians, although this year extensions .vlaanderen, .brussels and .jobs are gaining in popularity.

We also see that .eu and .org are gaining popularity among registrants. They associate those extensions with concepts such as ‘being decent,’  'easy to remember', and 'suitable for businesses'.

The majority of Belgians are prepared to go through an identification process when registering a domain name.

Registrant verification

For just over a year now, DNS Belgium has  been checking whether the details of anyone who wants to apply for a domain name are correct. We do so even before we activate a domain name on the internet.

The majority of those questioned are prepared to go through an identification process when registering a domain name. People who do not want to identify themselves are mainly concerned about their privacy and want to know what information they have to share in order to be able to decide before going through with the procedure.