March 2013       The Domain Industry News Magazine

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Total Domain Sales $ Volume Slipped in 1Q-2013 But .COM Defied the Trend With Both Volume & Median Sales Prices Beating 1Q-2012

We've just finished crunching the domain sales data reported to us in the first quarter of 2013 (ending March 31) and as always the numbers were very revealing. For starters, the total $ volume of reported sales across all extensions in 1Q-2013 fell below both the same quarter a year ago (1Q-2012) and the preceding quarter (4Q-2012).

A total of $21.8 million in sales was reported in 1Q-2013, a slight slip of less than 3% from the $22.4 million reported in 1Q-2012, but a bigger 16.5% decline from the previous quarter (4Q-2012) total of $26.1 million. The fall off in both cases can be attributed entirely to very slow reported activity at the high end of the market. 

Crunching numbers image from Bigstock

In the first quarter of this year, no seven-figure sales were reported and only 9 six-figure transactions were recorded, with all nine of those falling well short of the $500,000 mark. The top sale was at $375,000 and all nine of the six-figure sales added together came in at $1.83 million, far below the amount fetched by 4Q-2012's top sale alone - at $2.45 million. Similarly, the top two sales from the same quarter a year ago ( at $1 million and at $875,000) totaled more than the nine biggest sales in 1Q-2013 put together. 

As always, keep in mind that many of the largest sale are subject to non-disclosure agreements and are never publicly reported, so our universe of data is limited to the numbers the various sales venues and private parties divulge to us. 

Though things appeared to be slow at the ultra high end in 1Q-2013 there was plenty of activity in the aftermarket overall with 4,509 transactions across all TLDs reported to us, beating both the 4,306 from the same quarter a year ago and the 4,022 in 4Q-2012 (11% less than the latest quarter).

.Com image from Bigstock

Despite the overall drop in reported $ volume we actually saw .com defy gravity to top the same quarter a year ago in both volume and median sales price (the median price is the point at which half of all sales were higher and half were lower). The total $ volume of the 2,789 .com transactions reported to us in 1Q-2013 was $16.1 million - 6% better than the $15.2 million reported in 1Q-2012. The year over year median .com sales price also rose by over 3% from $3,000 to $3,100. Those 2,789 transactions represented an 18% jump from 2,367 in 1Q-2012 and a 12% rise from 4Q-2012. 

.Com did not fare as well compared to the robust 4th quarter of 2012 (one that was greatly aided by that $2.45 million sale of 1Q-2013 .com sales volume 

was down 21% from the $20.5 million reported in 4Q-2012 and the .com median slipped 3% from the $3,200 median recorded in the final quarter of 2012. 

(As always, we want to remind you that we do not track sales below four figures (to be specific we track .com sales of $2,000 and up and all other extensions from $1,000 or more). So, our median figures are higher than they would be if we tracked the entire universe of domain sales. Conversely, total dollar volume reported to us is less than it would be if we tracked sales at the lowest end of the market).

While .com managed to log year over year increases in both metrics, the other extensions were not as fortunate. In 1Q-2013 the ccTLDs saw their total $ volume slide 24% from the $4.6 million reported in 1Q-2012 to the $3.5 million banked in the latest quarter. However, that number represented a drop of less than 3% from the $3.6 million recorded in the previous quarter (4Q-2012).

Median ccTLD prices behaved in a similar manner. The 1Q-2013 median sales price reported was $1,937, off 2% from $1,979 in 1Q-2012, but virtually identical to the $1,935 median in 4Q-2012.

The non .com gTLDs turned in a mixed performance. While that category saw a 15% drop in year over year sales volume from $2.6 million in 1Q-2012 to $2.2 million in 1Q-2013, it managed to improve by 10% from the $2 million reported in 4Q-2012. The non .com gTLD median price behaved in just the opposite manner. The 1Q-2013 median price of $1,800 was almost 2% better than the $1,769 in 1Q-2012, but it was off almost 5% from the $1,888 median the previous quarter (4Q-2012).

In a nutshell we saw a lot of sales activity in the opening quarter of 2013 especially in the low to mid ranges of the market. There are also undoubtedly more sales happening at the high end than we know about, but based on the available data, things have either slowed down considerably in the upper atmosphere or parties to such sales have become much more tight lipped about them than they have been over the past 10 years we have been tracking sales. 

Arrows image from Bigstock

From talking to sellers I think it is the former rather than the latter. Everything goes in cycles though and we're now in a new one - 2Q-2013. I'll let you know how that race turns out three months from now!


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Ron Jackson

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