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IDN World Report 2023

Statistics, trends and analysis on the global IDN market with a focus on ccTLDs. The objective of this report is to provide a consistent public resource for anyone interested in understanding current trends in IDNs registrations, adoption and technical implementation characteristics.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 84% ccTLDs support IDN registration with a further 1 registry in preparation to launch.

  • There are an estimated 2.9 million IDN registrations under ccTLDs.

  • Over the 12 months to January 2023, the median growth of IDN registrations under national ccTLDs was recorded at -0.1% (sample: 40 ccTLDs) which is a decline from the previous year’s growth of 2.5%.

  • With an estimated 1.4 million IDN registrations under gTLDs, over the 12 months to January 2023, the median growth was recorded at 1.91%. (sample: 282 gTLDs)

  • Latin is the most common script offered by ccTLDs in the sample set.

  • 74 registries support IDN registration at the second level with a further 5 registries in preparation to support.

  • 17 registries offer both IDN and xn-- form in Port 43 WHOIS, 14 registries offer both forms in RDAP and 29 registries offer both forms in web-based WHOIS.

  • 65 registries do not support the Homoglyph building.

  • ccTLD registries rate registrar support 4 out of 5. This is an increase from the previous year’s score of 3.1.

  • Registries rate end-user awareness of IDNs at 2.5 out of 5. This is an increase from the previous year’s score of 2.2.

 

Data above sourced from the annual IDN survey run by CENTR (www.centr.org) in cooperation with Net Knowledge (www.netknowledge.com.au). Sample: 144 ccTLD registries (inc. IDN ccTLDs).

Total IDN registration volume based on 52 ccTLDs and IDN ccTLDs. Sources CENTR, APTLD, Zooknic.

Figure 1. IDNs statistics among ccTLDs

ADOPTION AND AWARENESS

While a significant number of ccTLD registries offer IDNs (around 84%), the number of actual registrations is often a tiny fraction of their overall domain holdings. When compared to the combined domain name market, estimated at around 360 million domains, IDN domains represent less than 1%.  This may not necessarily represent a failing of IDN registrations but rather reflect how the internet has developed from a Western origin predominantly in Latin script.  Nonetheless, awareness of internationalized domain names needs improvement if they are to continue to be a viable option, particularly for new and emerging economies. IDN registrations grew negatively at a median rate of 0.1% over 2022 which contrasts to 3.4% among the top 300 TLDs globally. 

 

The awareness issue around IDNs is evidenced also by how surveyed Registries in the study score user awareness and registrar support to IDNs. In 2023, surveyed registries gave an average score of 2.5 out of 5 to how they perceive end-user awareness of IDNs which has increased from last year’s score of 2.2.  Further to this, they rate the support provided by Registrars to IDNs an average of 4 out of 5 in 2023 which is again an increase from 2022 score of 3.1. These figures have improved from 2022 but they still need an improvement if IDNs are to strengthen their standing and accessibility for internet users as well as their changes for improved adoption in software applications (the concept known as universal acceptance).

REPORT METHODOLOGY

The research team relies on a variety of sources of data for IDNs: ccTLD data is collected directly from the ccTLD registries, both through the regional ccTLD organisations and via direct contact with the individual registries; gTLD data is collected via an external source ZookNIC. 

Working in close partnership with the regional IDN organisations – CENTR and APTLD – the research team circulates two forms -- IDN Implementation and IDN awareness every year in January to the ccTLD registries who are members of these regional organisations. The data collection period generally runs from January to March and allows ccTLD registries to add or update their data on the IDNs implementation characteristics, registration statistics (eg. total IDN domains) and a sentiment survey asking question on their views on IDN adoption and support in their communities. The research team follows up with individual registries on any queries or to fill gaps in the data.

While we aim to reach as many ccTLDs as possible, we cannot reach everyone.  For this reason, the statistics in the report should be interpretated as estimates only.  Given the limitation of input data, we also take care to present data fairly.  For example, statistics on growth in registrations use medians rather than combined absolute growth in order to give a better representation of an average ccTLD.  If you have any questions or suggestions about this report please contact nam@netknowledge.com.au.

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