Anime & Manga News

Anime Market In US Shrinks By 42% In Four Years

by dtshyk
Apr 1, 2009 6:47 AM | 40 Comments
Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO) released a report of the Japanese content business in North America. The report showed a steep shrinkage of the anime market in US between 2003 and 2007 (See the chart in the spoiler).

The anime market in US mostly consists of the sales of the character goods and it is strongly affected by the popularity of Pocket Monster series. The drop between 2003 and 2004 and the slight increase in 2007 reflected the business status of Pokemon. JETRO concluded that US anime market won't expand without the appearance of another big hit title comparable to Pokemon.

Ref1. US Anime DVD Sales Ranking For 2006 (The relative indexes are calculated assuming the sales of the top title as 100)

Ref2. US Anime DVD Sales Ranking For 2007 (The relative indexes are calculated assuming the sales of the top title as 100)


Source: JETRO

20 of 40 Comments Recent Comments

hopefully as technology progresses amine production will become cheaper...i just got into anime thanks to fan subs I never would have seen it otherwise..

Apr 17, 2009 12:34 PM by Llama765

That's good. Fansubs will die if anime becomes mainstream material in the US with the licenses and stuff.

Heh. Most of the stuff otakus hate are in the list.

Apr 14, 2009 5:28 AM by Unregistered00

kuroshiroi said:
Yeah, but the Japanese get it for 'free' and still buy.

They likely pay for cable.

U.S. anime companies are starting to understand people would rather download fan-subs than wait months for localization. so, companies are just translating the titles and streaming the anime, at least that's what FUNimation doing with Fullmetal Alchemist.

The next step would be to have a TV channel that airs anime in a timely fashion from it's original release.

People in general just don't have the money to buy 15-20 dollar DVD's for 3-4 episodes of a particular anime series.

Apr 14, 2009 12:18 AM by Eva-kun

Isn't part of the problem that licensers predict for there to be less profit? I mean, with American products they can try to prevent piracy that they think kills their sales. With anime it's already been out there for so long that, by the time they have rights to it, there's nothing they can do. For American stuff they predict less loss of profit through piracy than they do with anime.

Considering how the economy has been, would you risk it?

Apr 14, 2009 12:04 AM by AngelND

Yuruku said:
If it declined it's cause of torrents and shit.

Sorry but I think you came to the wrong conclusion there. If anything torrents are improving the industry by making its contents more accessible. I wouldn't be spending myself silly on DVD's if I didn't get to see what the show was like at first.

Also Anime North is just a month away and you can bet I'll be spending at least $1k on DVD's there; and most of the stuff on my shelf was never aired in North America. Am I only allowed to watch crap shows like Pokémon on tv and then just guess as to what DVD's I should buy? Sorry but that's not going to happen.

Apr 13, 2009 3:45 PM by hogkill

The main source of income is character goods. Which not so surprisingly has gone way down because over the last 4 years the number of new anime titles aired in the US has decreased also. So many are content with their 1st edition pokemon cards, the original Naruto action figure, or imitation Bleach swords.

Apr 2, 2009 5:06 PM by Tyranid5

...how very interesting.

Still for more Jap. audio & correct subs, though. I'd buy more DVDs under that, instead of having to buy imports.

Apr 2, 2009 3:58 PM by Anaraine

I personally think anime goes in cycles at least here. You had Astroboy, Robotech/Macross, Speed Racer, Sailor Moon/Dragonball (Z), and Pokemon. Also, let us not forget all the Transformer crazes in the middle. Just by the nature of things another anime boom will likely occur. When it will occur is a different story.

As far as the argument that they get to watch anime for free and buy dvds, I don't think we can compare because in Japan they pay way more for less episodes. Nothing is truly free. If I remember correctly, it's the dvd sales that really make up the costs for actually making the shows. What happens in the country of dvd distribution is probably trivial anyway but if a nice profit is being made it probably won't hurt.

As far as character goods, if they would branch off a little bit from only selling Naruto, Bleach, and DBZ stuff just maybe I'll buy a few more non-dvd items. Besides, the stuff already in Japan might be better to import.

Apr 2, 2009 3:27 PM by lilgumba

Emilio_Rodo said:
Less sales = Less licensing = more fansubs:)

Less licensing =/= more fansubs
Less licensing = same amount of fansubs + fewer dvds

Apr 2, 2009 9:36 AM by Anomalous

kaminakun said:
"JETRO concluded that US anime market won't expand without the appearance of another big hit title comparable to Pokemon."

no offense, my fellow American friends, but do you guys enjoy watching Pokemon that much? 0.o


No, it's more like everyone thinks cartoons are for children. Therefore only children are really interested in it. Therefore cartoons geared towards children aren't stuck in the niche and thrive.

I consider anime dvds to be "collector's stuff" so I don't really find it that expensive. (I never bought movies to begin with but... I never pirated them either. I just turned on my TV back then.)

As for the bad economy... I don't think that would have had that big of an impact as early as 2007. Though, I can't say for sure as I haven't researched the roots of it and am not an expert of course.

Apr 1, 2009 6:23 PM by asandari

I have to agree with you on that Hellmonkey. ^_^

Apr 1, 2009 5:24 PM by MaximumRider

natsuki_seika said:

How is the comic book market by the way ?


There was a news about it, but seems like it's gone by the server crash.

Here is the chart of US manga sales from 2004 to 2008.

Red: Total sales of the graphic novels (manga + American comics)
Blue: Sales of Japanese manga

Apr 1, 2009 4:16 PM by dtshyk

Yuruku said:
If it declined it's cause of torrents and shit.
Means, the growth is on the unprofitable side of the market ?
More anime fans, but fans that are very aware about expense and knowledgable in alternative sources.

How is the comic book market by the way ?

Apr 1, 2009 4:06 PM by nseika

HappyPear said:
I don't buy anime, so shoot me.

BAKA!!!!!!!!! >:(

Apr 1, 2009 3:57 PM by Neverender

The reason should be obvious. In the last four years what has skyrocketed? Pirated Anime. Sales go down when no one is interested. How many times do you usually re-watch a series? Usually your done the first time you watch it. The spike in free fansubs (which IS illegal) has caused a significant drop in anime sales. I'm not going to buy anime i've already seen unless I really like it and want to help support it. I actually own 2 series, Haibane Renmei and Gunslinger Girl. I bought them because I really liked it. For me I bought 2 out of over 250 anime series that i've watched. Do the math. It is also too expensive for the most part. Though I must say that most of the box sets sold here in the US are at a good price. Both the series I bought I got the box sets for and paid $30-$40 for each, though they were short series.

Zanghetsu said:
Well, America, in general is getting the crap kicked out of it due to our economy.
THAT also plays a role in the decrease in sale for certain. Technically we SHOULD be buying all sorts of things to help give money back to the government to help balance our economy. (Which is really a wish at this point.) But many people who DO buy the actual 'stuff' spend carelessly and can't pay it back. With that being said, many people do not see Anime as being a Priority in their spending.
Just throwing this out there but the US government has over 7 Trillion Dollars in debt and Obama plans so spend even more money we don't have. The stimulus plan stimulates me but in a bad way.

Apr 1, 2009 3:55 PM by Hellmonkey

Well, America, in general is getting the crap kicked out of it due to our economy.
THAT also plays a role in the decrease in sale for certain. Technically we SHOULD be buying all sorts of things to help give money back to the government to help balance our economy. (Which is really a wish at this point.) But many people who DO buy the actual 'stuff' spend carelessly and can't pay it back. With that being said, many people do not see Anime as being a Priority in their spending.

Apr 1, 2009 3:51 PM by MaximumRider

I don't buy anime, so shoot me.

Apr 1, 2009 3:43 PM by HappyPear

Anime is more expensive then a full two hour movie and that is for only 3-5 episodes.
Example: brand new movie 19.99-17.99 dollars
Anime: 26.99 - 24.99 for 5 episodes out of 26.

Too Expensive

Apr 1, 2009 3:15 PM by dai9145

Zanghetsu said:
I think the fact that many different sites have Dub/Subs hurts the sale of Anime due to the fact that some people think something aling the lines of "Oh, well, I've already seen it so I probably won't watch it again."
Yeah, but the Japanese get it for 'free' and still buy.

Apr 1, 2009 2:36 PM by kuroshiroi

I think the fact that many different sites have Dub/Subs hurts the sale of Anime due to the fact that some people think something aling the lines of "Oh, well, I've already seen it so I probably won't watch it again."

DaBigD said:
If they only released titles with Japanese audio and recognizable fansubs, more people would buy DVDs. I'd certainly like to get my hands on some Toradora DVDs...if subbed.

The majority if not all of the Anime that is sold in America has both Sub and Dub on the same DVDs....

Mod edit: Please do not double post.

Apr 1, 2009 2:17 PM by MaximumRider