Domain industry in the first quarter of 2020 amidst pandemic

Several dire events marked the start of the year 2020, as fires in Australia got worse before rains helped contain many of them in February, and now a global pandemic forces people to stay in their homes.

.COM and .NET domain pricing in 2020

Good news for those of us with a substantial number of .COM and .NET domains that need to be renewed.

In response to the global pandemic and as a show of empathy toward customers, Verisign said today that they will not be raising domain registration price for .COM and .NET domains all the way through 2020.

Verisign is not changing .COM and .NET domain registration price throughout 2020

Additionally, Verisign disclosed that they are preparing a program to provide support and assistance for domain name registrants with domain names that will be expiring in the coming months.

The early 2020 impact on businesses

People around the world are urged to stay in their homes, work from their place of residence if possible, and avoid direct social contact (social distancing) as a measure of containing the pandemic.

What this means is that people are staying indoors, and sourcing necessities as well as food from online sources.

A brand new report reveals the business impact of this pandemic, thus far in the US, displaying which business categories are up and which are down, with data gathered from March 1 through March 22.

Keep in mind that data is focused strictly on consumer interest, measured in terms of daily activity from US users.

Online business is rising in 2020 because of social distancing

Just as we expected, Community-Supported Agriculture (farms) search category is up 157% compared to the previous period, while the Imported Food Stores is up 172%.

Consumers ordering food from takeout restaurants and delivery, have a growing interest in these categories:

  • Thai (up 55%)
  • Pizza (up 53%)
  • Fast Food (up 53%)

On the other side, venues offering dining options that bring many people together nearby are down to a low 32%, while breweries, french restaurants, and coffee roasteries are in the range of 40 to 50% of their average.

When talking about fitness, people are now more interested in activities that keep people far apart from each other:

  • Fitness & Exercise Equipment (up 162%)
  • Hiking (up 135%)
  • Mountain biking (up 119%)

And as expected, venues which provide recreation for larger groups of people are down:

  • Parks (up 62%)
  • Yoga (down 51%)
  • Amusement Parks (down 44%)
  • Flea Markets (down 35%)

Conclusion – is there any pandemic impact on the domain industry?

The trend of social distancing actually benefits online businesses that can deliver their products to customers, while it hurts brick-and-mortar businesses that require their customers to be present at their local venue.

Yes, the US Senate has passed a bill that will provide a $2.2 trillion financial relief package to help American workers, businesses and the severely strained health care system survive the still-spreading outbreak.

Such an unprecedented package will provide direct payments to most Americans, expand jobless benefits, guarantee loans to small businesses, and assist state and local governments. 

Still, it is very early to conclude with any kind of positive or negative conclusion for the domain industry, as we do not have enough data, and for some, the storm has just begun.