The number of web sites being registered with the .uk domain is exceeding those for China's .cn, according to registry Nominet.
The fact that the domains are exceeding the Chinese market is significant, and reflects an increase in confidence in the URLs, the company said in its Domain Name Industry Report 2010 (PDF).
Nominet has also seen an "increased consumer preference" for .uk domains over .com for the first time. The report said that 80 per cent of UK consumers are more likely to visit sites local to them than a .com equivalent.
The number of .uk domain registrations has grown by 11.5 per cent over the past year and is expected soon to hit nine million.
"Registrations in the .uk domain space have been particularly good this year, with some of the highest levels of new registrations that we've seen since the dotcom boom, despite the current focus on austerity," said Phil Kingsland, director of marketing and communications at Nominet.
"It demonstrates that, in a recession, people are turning to the internet to help set up new ventures and pave the way for future growth."
The increase in registrations over the year has pushed the UK into second place in the country code standings behind Germany.
UK domains are now more likely to be used in advertising material, according to the report, and more than half of all ads looked at by Nominet used a .uk rather than a .com or equivalent address.
This confidence should be exploited by businesses looking to draw more traffic to their web sites, said Kingsland.
"British consumers have demonstrated a clear preference for .uk over .com in practically all online tasks," he added.
"Businesses will want to tune into what consumers expect when they are interacting with them online, and how important an appropriate domain name can be."
Domain name marketplace Sedo is also seeing strong growth in the extension. Its Q3 2010 Domain Market Study, released this week, also placed .uk second behind .de in country code extensions, accounting for 14 per cent of all ccTLD sales.
“The .co.uk ccTLD continues to be one of the most popular extensions purchased through Sedo," said business development director, Nora Nanayakkara.
"The overall stability and strength of the domain industry in Q3 2010 further demonstrates the growing interest from business owners and investors alike to budget for domains as part of their business strategy.”
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