The number of Irish Christmas-themed websites has grown by 345% this year compared to the previous year, according to new data released by .IE, the national registry for .ie domain names.

The data shows that there were 276 new festive-themed .ie domains registered this year, compared to 62 .ie domains in 2019.

This large migration online from Irish SME’s comes as businesses and consumers are forced to pivot from the traditional Christmas retail environment to find new ways to conduct business and facilitate online shopping this festive period.

According to the data, a total of 143 Christmas domains registered this year contain the words 'Christmas’ or ‘Xmas’ in their title.

Santa’s grotto goes virtual

2020 has also seen the traditional children’s ‘Santa’s grotto’ experience move online in light of Covid restrictions.

This is reflected in the sharp spike in ‘Santa Claus’ specific website registrations.

Santa Claus .ie domains have risen from seven in 2019 to 101 in 2020.

Similarly, Christmas tree websites have increased from 13 in 2019 to 32 in 2020 (146% increase), as many Irish businesses are now delivering Christmas trees through online orders from their website.

Consumer trends

The recent shift online by Irish SMEs aligns with an increased desire by Irish consumers to support local this Christmas

According to .IE’s recent Tipping Point report, Irish consumers estimate that 53% of their online purchases have been with Irish SMEs since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. 

This compares to 48% of their online purchases prior to the onset of the pandemic.

David Curtin, CEO of .IE said the increase in .ie registrations in 2020 is testament to the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of Irish SMEs.

"Following what has been an extremely challenging year for Irish businesses, many were quick to recognise the opportunities that exist online and were equally timely in their response. 

"Over the course of the past nine months, we have experienced a significant growth in .ie registrations across the board, with many of these linked to SMEs who have been working to ensure they can continue to trade during these uncertain times.

"This Christmas more than ever, Irish consumers are keen to support local and having a .ie domain is the quickest and easiest way for businesses to show that they are Irish online," he said.