ICv2 Report: U.S. Manga Sales More than Doubled in 2021
posted on by Alex Mateo
Media news website ICv2 reported on Monday that U.S. manga sales have more than doubled in retailers tracked by NPD BookScan in 2021. NPD-tracked accounts listed 24.4 million units of manga sold in 2021, which is about 15 million more units sold - a growth rate of 160% - over the previous year. ICv2 provides a disclaimer that there is a classification issue involving the My Hero Academia manga (pictured right), and it is possible that the actual number of manga units sold was larger for both years.
Viz Media's vice president of publishing sales Kevin Hamric told ICv2 in an interview published on Monday that the company is experiencing more sales so far this year than it did in the same time frame in 2021. However, the growth rate is slower compared to last year. He added that manga accounted for 25% of the overall growth of the book industry in the U.S. last year. Retail bookstores such as Books a Million and Barnes and Noble are dedicating more space to manga. Hamric stated that he is expecting supply chain issues to continue for the company for the rest of this calendar year, at least.
ICv2 previously reported that North American sales of print manga reached an all-time high in 2020, according to its print manga sales analysis based on information from NPD Bookscan, Diamond Comic Distributors, Comic Hub, and other sources. The North American manga market was just under US$250 million in 2020. The overall North American comic market reached a new high of US$1.28 billion in 2020.
Backlist manga and boxsets factored strongly into the year's sales, and ICv2 attributed that demand to increased anime streaming during the COVID-19 situation, leading to increased manga purchases. This new peak passed the previous record, which was set in 2007. Following that year, a steep decline occurred between 2008-2012 due to several factors including a global financial crisis, bankruptcy of the Borders bookstore, a decline in anime on North American television, and a smaller backlist of previously unaired anime in North America.
ICv2 reported in April 2021 that NPD Bookscan's report for the first quarter of 2021 showed a 29% increase in overall print book sales the United States, the highest volume of print book sales in a first quarter since NPD Bookscan began tracking book sales in 2004. In particular, the report showed a large growth in the category of graphic novels (up 4 million from first quarter 2020), with manga accounting for 80% of growth in that category.
Hamric (pictured left) previously stated in an interview with ICv2 that Viz Media saw a 70% growth in the U.S. market for 2020, in line with a 43% increase in overall manga sales in the United States in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hamric followed up with ICv2 regarding his comment from a previous interview that sales of first manga volumes and boxsets increased during the pandemic, saying that the company has sold out and had to reprint all of its box sets, particularly those manga that have anime adaptations. He cited Haikyu!! and Jujutsu Kaisen as notable examples, adding that the latter is seeing the same "trajectory" as the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba manga.
Yen Press Publisher and Managing Director Kurt Hassler also stated in an interview with ICv2 in March that 2020 was a record year for Yen Press.