Digital comics

Digital Comics Including Webtoon and Smartoon See Strong Growth in 2021


The publishing market in Japan grew by 3.6% in 2021, revealed the Association of Book and Magazine Publishers and Publishers of Japan (AJPEA), which estimated that the entire segment was worth 1, 6742 trillion yen, or about 14.70 billion US dollars, AnimeNewsNetwork reported. This is three consecutive years of growth for the publishing industry as a whole. It also indicates a stronger performance of the digital publishing segment which grew by 18.6% from 2020 to 2021, which more than offset the negative growth of 1.3% recorded by the print market in during the period.

The digital comics market, in particular, made solid gains, which saw its market value rise to 411.4 billion yen or US$3.61 billion in 2021, from 342 billion yen or 3 billion. US dollars in 2020. This is attributed to comics that got screen adaptations that added to their appeal in a larger part of the market. Additionally, there have also been Webtoon and Smartoon vertical scrolling comics which have also seen a lot of positive adoption among the masses. The sale of digital magazines, however, fell to 9.9 billion yen or US$86.98 million in 2021 from 11 billion yen (96.64 million US$) in 2020.

The sale of monthly and weekly print periodicals, however, declined by 4.5% and 9.7% respectively from 2020 to 2021. To dig deeper into the market for monthly print periodicals, magazines that are published regularly saw their sales decline by 7% while mooks suffered a 14 percent drop. Manga sales had seen a 20% growth in sales in 2020, which had a lot to do with the immense popularity of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba although the segment was again down 1% in 2021.