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AJA: Anime Industry Contracted 3.5% in 2020

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Overseas market overtakes domestic market for 1st time

The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) released its Anime Industry Report 2021 findings on Thursday. The report found that the wider anime industry (including merchandise, music, etc.) contracted by 3.5% in 2020, with a total market value of 2.4261 trillion yen (about US$21.32 billion). The market value strictly for anime productions contracted by 9% to 274.4 billion yen (about US$2.41 billion).

For comparison, the market rose 15.1% to 2.5145 trillion yen (about US$22.10 billion by present conversion) in 2019, representing a near doubling of the industry in the last decade since 2009 (the year's preliminary report stated a market value of 2.5112 trillion yen for 2019, but the final report indicates a value of 2.5145 trillion yen).

The 2020 market value remains a high mark, second only to 2019 for every prior year since 2002, in both the wider anime market, and the narrower anime production industry. Nevertheless, this represents the first contraction of the overall market in 11 years since 2009.

The streaming market increased dramatically in 2020 by 35.8% year-on-year, with a total value of 93 billion yen (about US$817 million), and was also the only market segment to see growth. Live entertainment was down 65.6% year-on-year at 29 billion yen (about US$254 million). Anime merchandise also saw a 0.8% downturn, valued at 581.9 billion yen (about US$5.10 billion) in 2020. Overseas anime sales, now accounting for about half of the market, increased 3.2% year-on-year, amounting to 1.2394 trillion yen (about US$10.89 billion). In contrast, the Japanese market saw a 9.7% reduction, now valued at 1.1867 trillion yen (about US$10.41 billion yen). This marks the first time the overseas market overtook the Japanese market.

AJA previously released other data about 2020 in May. Last year had 98,448 minutes worth of anime produced, the second consecutive year-on-year decline since 2018, and the lowest seen since 2011 (the years 2012-2019 broke the 100,000 minute mark, with 2018 hitting 130,346 minutes, and 2019 hitting 105,294 minutes). 63,156 of these minutes were for new productions, while 35,292 minutes were on continuing productions. 66 theatrical anime debuted in 2020 (including shorts), compared to 90 in 2019. This comprises 4,837 total minutes of theatrical anime, compared to 7,242 minutes in 2019.

The authors of the report speculated that the effects of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were the primary factor for the downturn in market value. The full report also included special columns discussing the market during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A similar report from the financial research firm Teikoku Databank found in August that anime industry revenue (based on the revenue from 300 companies) amounted to 251.081 billion yen (about US$2.29 billion), 1.8% lower than 2019's record high of 255.7 billion yen (about US$2.33 billion).

Anime industry analyst, professor, and journalist Tadashi Sudo has provided commentary on the AJA report for this year, including commentary on how the popularity of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba impacted the numbers for 2020, rising production costs, labor shortages, and the future of the industry.

Sources: Email correspondence, AJA

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