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The global webcomics market size was valued at USD 6.67 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 7.13 billion in 2023 to USD 11.65 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 7.26% during the forecast period.
Webcomics (digital or electronic comic books) are comics created for online publishing on a website or mobile applications. Digital comic books are created using various art software such as Adobe Illustrator.
There has been a significant rise in digital comic book platforms worldwide in recent years. The major players are expanding their presence by launching apps for digital comics owing to increasing digitization worldwide. New launches are expected to increase the availability and adoption of electronic comic books among consumers in the coming years. For instance, In February 2022, Byte Dance, an internet technology company, launched its new comic app, Fizzo Toon, in Japan and invested USD 42 million in KidariStudio, a web novel and webtoons creator. The content partnership agreement is poised to strengthen webtoon operations in China, and ByteDance is expected to get the intellectual property of around 1300 webtoons.
In May 2021, Black Sands Entertainment, a publisher and media company, launched the Black Sands Publishing app, a digital comic platform. According to the company, the application offers various digital comic series created by about 16 independent publishers and artists and Black Sands.
In March 2021, Graphics India, an Indian superheroes and comics creator, launched a new subsidiary, TOONSUTRA. The new Webtoon comic platform is free for mobile devices on both Android and iOS devices, exclusively for India. It features genres such as Bollywood, romance, fantasy, mythology, and superheroes.
COVID-19 Pandemic Accelerated Product Demand due to Increased Free Time
The sudden outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic affected the traditional comic book market throughout 2020 and 2021, given the temporary and permanent closure of physical retail outlets. The lockdown was imposed in 2020 across countries worldwide, confining individuals in their homes due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus. In addition, the closure of the manufacturing facility halted all trading activities and reduced the print production of comic books in 2020. Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, two major comic conventions scheduled for the summer and fall of 2020, San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con, were canceled.
Despite the impact of the pandemic and supply chain disruptions in the global physical comic book industry, the demand for digital comics increased during the lockdown in 2020 as individuals across countries turned to reading comics online during their extended free time and to reduce boredom through reading. Several players in this market focused on launching digital comics to cater to growing demand owing to the closure of comic book stores in 2020. For instance,
Increasing Adaptation of Digital Comic Books into Movies, Series, and Games to Drive Product Demand
The rising adaptation of comics into popular television series, movie franchises, and video games into comics has emerged as a key trend within the global digital comic’s industry. The popularity of movies and games introduces new audiences to digital comic books, contributing significantly to the global webcomics market growth. Moreover, several players focus on partnerships with animation studios to boost product demand. The partnerships allow companies to integrate their famous characters and create new exciting plots, increasing fan curiosity and positively influencing the global webcomics market trends. For instance,
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Increasing Popularity of Non-fungible Tokens Comics to Favor Market Expansion
The rise in Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) advancements has taken the crypto world by storm. Non-Fungible Tokens comics allow fans, creators, and readers to engage creatively, boosting the demand for electronic comic books. The increasing availability of digital NFT comics has the same collectible value as physical editions, increasing demand from comic collectors boosting market growth. Several prominent players focus on launching new NFT comics to boost their product sales. For instance,
Rising Government Support to Fuel Market Growth
Digital comic books are becoming popular for children to educate and communicate with fun. Governments worldwide are also promoting comic books as a great and fun way of learning among children. The increasing government initiatives and institutions' increasing need for more digital content to engage students are boosting the product demand among parents and children. For instance,
Increasing Availability of Substitute Products May Impede Market Growth
The increasing availability of substitutes such as digital non-fiction and digital fiction books limits market growth. Audiobooks have become more prevalent in recent years, and the lockdown in 2020 has only increased the demand for audiobooks. The ease of accessibility for disabled and non-English speaking consumer groups is increasing the audiobook demand. Unlike fiction and non-fiction, comics are not available in audio format, hampering the global webcomics market share. With increasing preference and popularity for audiobooks, audiobook platforms are introducing new formats and expanding their libraries. For instance,
Action Segment Dominates Due to Increasing Popularity and Demand for Superheroes Webcomics
Based on genre, the market is segmented into action, comedy, sci-fi, horror, romance, and others. The action segment held a major market share in 2022 owing to the significant demand for superhero digital comic books across countries. Several prominent players focus on launching new action electronic comic books. For instance, in April 2022, Valiant Entertainment partnered with Blackstone Publishing to debut a new line of adult novels featuring beloved Valiant characters. The new line includes iconic heroes and villain characters from the valiant universe, such as Livewire, Eternal Warrior, and Shadowman.
The romance segment is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period due to the increasing popularity of romantic graphic novels among women and teenagers. The increasing popularity of romantic digital comic books with plots of marriage, divorce, lust, jealousy, teen break up and betrayal, and, of course, teen heartbreak coupled with the emerging trend of LGBTQ romance stories are driving the segment growth.
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Adults Segment Leads Due to Wide Availability of Digital Comic Books for Adults
By target audience, the market is segmented into adults and kids. The adults segment held a dominant market share in 2022 due to the wide availability of adult digital comic books, revisiting their long-lasting imagination and easing stress. The adults have hobbies of collecting comics owing to independence and the ability to buy expensive and specialized comic books. The collectors buy new and rare comics and preserve them to resell to gain monetary profits.
The kids segment is also expected to grow significantly during the forecast period owing to the need for improving reading skills and entertainment purposes and the growing popularity of cartoons. Furthermore, children are shifting to digital comic books due to the prevalence of digital devices and the internet. Numerous players in the market focus on expanding into the kids segment owing to increasing demand for kids’ electronic comic books. For instance,
Subscription-based Segment Fosters Growth Due to its Increasing Consumer Preference Owing to a Wide Range of Comics
By revenue model, the market is divided into subscription-based and ad-based. The subscription-based segment is expected to dominate the market throughout the forecast period. In this model, consumers pay a monthly subscription fee and get access to all the comics during that period. The accessibility to a wide range of electronic comic books, monthly payments, and convenience drive the demand for a subscription-based model. Furthermore, the ad-based segment is expected to grow steadily during the forecast period.
The global market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa.
Asia Pacific Webcomics Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)
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The Asia Pacific market for webcomics accounted for the largest share in 2022. The presence of many comic book publishers, the rising population, and increasing internet penetration are key factors driving the regional growth. The flourishing growth of the anime industry in Japan among international and domestic consumers has further boosted the regional growth.
North America’s market size and growth are driven by the presence of prominent players such as Marvel & DC Entertainment, increasing usage of smart devices, notably mobile phones, and an increase in disposable income. At a macro level, the increasing social media usage across countries encourages industry participants to target individuals through advertisements and marketing efforts. Several key players are focusing on expansions owing to the increasing demand for electronic comic books across domestic markets. For instance, in May 2020, Kakao Entertainment, a Korea-based leading provider of mobile content platforms, announced the merger of Tapas Media and Radish Media, its North American subsidiaries, creating a digital publishing platform with over 100,000 creators and 100,000 stories. According to the company, the merger will expand Kakao Entertainment's global IP value chain in North America.
European market is expected to grow significantly during the forecast period owing to increasing disposable income, a surge in digital publishing, and the wide availability of electronic comic books in regional languages. Various players focus on expanding in this region owing to increasing demand for more quality digital content. For instance,
Key Players Focus on Product Launches and Partnerships to Stay Competitive
Key industry participants adopt various competitive strategies, such as launching new products and partnerships, in the intensely competitive landscape. For instance, in February 2023, Archie Comics, a comic book publisher, announced a collaboration with WEBTOON, a digital comic platform, to bring webcomics Archie Comics: Big Ethel Energy return with new episodes exclusively on WEBTOON.
The report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, material analysis, categorization, leading applications of the product, and key distribution channels. Besides this, it offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors above, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.
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CAGR of 7.26% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Billion)
By Target Audience
By Revenue Model
As per the Fortune Business Insights study, the market size was valued at USD 6.67 billion in 2022.
The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.26% over the forecast period (2023-2030).
Based on genre, the action segment accounted for a major market share in 2022 due to the rising consumer preference for superhero comics.
The increasing popularity of non-fungible tokens comics is expected to drive the market growth.
Some of the top players in the market are Marvel Entertainment, LLC (U.S.), Dark Horse Media, LLC (U.S.), Image Comics (U.S.), DC Entertainment (U.S.), and IDW Media Holdings, Inc. (U.S.).
The Asia Pacific market for webcomics dominated in terms of product sales in 2022.
The increasing availability of substitute products is expected to restrain webcomics deployment globally throughout the forecast period.
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