Well here’s a bit of a shocker: digital comics sales were down about 10% to $90 million in 2015, according to industry analysis site ICv2:
North American digital comic sales declined roughly 10% to $90 million in 2015, down from $100 million in 2014, according to an analysis by ICv2. This is the first sales decline after a six year run of growth as the format exploded beginning in 2010.
Industry participants cited a number of factors in explaining the decline, with perhaps the most important being the slowdown in new device purchases. Now that smartphones and tablets have reached near saturation levels, there are not large numbers of new consumers coming into the market for digital content, at least in North America. And without those surges in new digital consumers, catalogue purchases of digital comics are less robust, as longer-term digital consumers have already acquired much of the backlist that they want in their libraries.
The analysis does not include all you can eat services such as Crunchyrool and Marvel Unlimited. Nor does it include “bundling sales’ via Humble Bundle and other services that offer a lot of digital comcis at a cheap price.
Conventional ebook sales declined 11% in 2015, and ebook sales have been down or stagnant in most segments for a while now.
ICv2 notes that there the demos of digital are more varied now, and there’s a wider variety of material, including manga, bandes dessinees, and self-published titles.
ICv2 also not4ed that Hum
PW also offers some analysis of the trend::
Milton Griepp, ICv2 CEO, said many comics industry observers are blaming the decline in sales on a saturated market for digital devices. He noted that the report cites a slowdown in purchases of new devices, as well as a decline in the number of new comics consumers looking for digital comics content.
“Catalogue purchases of digital comics are less robust, as longer-term digital consumers have already acquired much of the backlist that they want in their libraries,” the report said.
I don’t think there’s too much to be worried about here, as the slowdown is generally explained by the general slowing of sales and interest in new devices. It does seem that mobile-native platforms like LINE Webtoon, Stela Unlimited and Tapas represent a new frontier to spark interest though.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.