Comic book sales by year
- Since 2009, over 953 million comic book units have been sold.
- From 2014 to 2019, comic book sales accounted for 13.5% of total book sales during this period.
- 92% of total copies sold, or over 876 million copies, belong to the Diamond’s top300 list.
- Over the last decade, comic book sales peaked in 2016, when over 99 million copies were sold.
- Since 2016, unit sales declined in each year, reaching 83.2 million in 2019.
- The biggest annual growth in comic book sales occurred in 2012, then the sales increased by 11.4%.
- The biggest drop came in 2017, falling by 9.7% compared to the previous year.
- For 3 consecutive years prior to the pandemic, comic book sales faced an annual drop in units sold.
Comic books sales revenue by year
- Since 2011, comic book sales generated over $10.04 billion in revenue, averaging around $1 billion per year.
- Over this period, comic book sales revenue annual growth was negative only once, dropping by 6.5% in 2017 compared to 2016.
- In 2020, comic book sales recorded the highest revenue in history, standing at $1.28 billion.
- This is a 5.8% increase compared to 2019, and a 16.7% increase compared to 2018.
Print comic book sales revenue by year
- For the second consecutive year, print comic book sales revenue exceeds $1 billion.
- However, the figure in 2020 remained at the 2019 level, standing at $1.12 billion.
- Since 2011, print comic books account for 91% of total comic book sales revenue, with $9.135 billion.
- That share declined over the last few years and was at the lowest value in 2020, then 87.5% of all comic book sales revenue came from print.
- 2020 stagnation in print revenue can be attributed to the Covid-19 outbreak, which directed buyers’ behavior towards digital format.
Digital comic book sales revenue by year
Digital publishing was one of the winners of the pandemic outbreak, and this trend reflected in the comic book category:
- Over $160 million worth of comic books were sold digitally in 2020, which is an all-time record.
- It is also a 77.8% increase compared to 2019, while print sales revenue stagnated over the same period.
- Since 2011, sales revenue from comic book digital format stands at $905 million and is projected to get over $1 billion after 2021.
- The average share of digital comic book revenue in total comic book sales since 2011 stands at 9%.
- The digital format started the decade with only a 3.5% share in total annual revenue.
- It quickly jumped by 180% in 2012, then by an additional 28.6% in 2013 and 11.1% in 2014.
- Since 2015, the share of digital comic book sales drops to under 9% for 3 consecutive years, and faces the lowest value in 2017, with 7.4%.
- In 2020, this share increased to 12.5%, jumping from 7.4% in 2019.
Comic book sales by format
Graphic novels are the driving force behind comic sales, while comic books face a significant decline:
- In 2020, over $835 million in comic book sales revenue came from graphic novels.
- This accounts for 65.2% of total comic book revenue, the highest share over the last 8 years.
- Share of graphic novels’ revenue increased with each passing year, starting from 47.7% in 2013.
- On the other hand, comic books’ share in total revenue declined every year, and in 2020 stands at 22.3%.
- In 2013, this share was as high as 42%, on par with graphic novels.
Comic book sales by channel
In 2019, comic book sales faced a shift in the main sales channel, as book stores became the dominant source of revenue:
- Over $645 million in sales in 2020 were generated through book stores, which presents 50.4% of total comic book revenue.
- This is a huge increase compared to the book store’s revenue average, which stands at 39.5% since 2013.
- At the same time, only 34.4% of revenue came from the comic book stores in 2020, accounting for $440 million.
- The average revenue share of comic book stores since 2013 is 48.9%.
- Overall, since 2013, over $4.17 billion in revenue came from comic book stores, while book stores account for $3.37 billion.
Average comic book price by year
- The average price of a comic book in 2020 is estimated at $4.19, increasing by 1.2% compared to 2019.
- This is also the highest average price for a comic book in history, and the third consecutive year that the average price is over $4.
- Since 2011, comic book prices had positive annual growth every year.
- The largest increase occurred in 2019, jumping by 3.5% compared to 2018.
Looking at monthly average prices since 2011, the best time to buy comic books is in April, while August is the most expensive month for comic books purchase:
- Since 2011, the average comic book price for the month of April stands at $3.76, the lowest over the year.
- On the other hand, buying a comic book in August will cost $3.87 on average, making it the most expensive month.
- The tendency is that comic books get the most expensive over the last few months of the year, while the prices drop over the first few months of the year.
Comic book market share
- Since 2011, Marvel Comics has accounted for 37% of total comic book sales revenue, making them the highest-earning comic book company.
- 2019 was a record year for Marvel, whose sales accounted for 40.3% of total sales.
- DC Comics is responsible for 29.6% of total revenue, generating over $2.59 billion since 2011.
- Together, Marvel and DC hold over 66.6% of total comic book sales revenue since 2011, peaking at 69.53% in 2019.
- Image Comics account for 8.7% of revenue share, and no other company holds over 5%.