A recent article in the Japanese edition of Newsweek includes some very interesting statistics concerning the growth of interest in anime and manga around the world and the differences in the various markets. The figures provided for anime ($500 million) and manga ($40 million) sales in the U.S. correspond closely to what ICv2 has reported in the market size articles prepared for our Retailers Guide To Anime & Manga (see 'ICv2 Retailers Guide Sizes Up the Markets'). While manga sales have grown rapidly in the U.S., sales in France, which make up 12% of a much larger market for comic books, are seven times larger. On the other hand manga sales in Germany are currently about half those in the U.S.
Manga sales are growing quickly across the globe, but anime already makes up an estimated 60% of all broadcast animation across the world. Foreign sales are extremely important to leading Japanese anime studios -- Toei earns 35% of its revenue from foreign sales and foreign operations also contribute significantly to Bandai Visual's bottom line. The importance of foreign markets on anime production can already be seen in Bandai's revival (at the behest of the Cartoon Network ) of The Big O, a series that was much more popular in the U.S. than in Japan (see 'The Big O Returns Uncut').
While manga sales are growing quickly in the U.S., they still represent only about a tenth of the amount spent on anime. In Japan, the situation is reversed with a manga market of $4.4 billion dwarfing the $1.35 billion earned by anime. Interestingly the amount spent on character goods in Japan, $8.45 billion is almost double the manga total, demonstrating that the Japanese are indeed masters of tie-in merchandise.
Sales in the U.S. may never even get close to sales in Japan, but the continuing steady growth of manga and anime around the world in markets like France and Italy, which embraced manga years before the U.S. did, would appear to indicate that interest in anime and manga is not a flash-in-the-pan fad, but a trend that will continue on the upswing for some time to come.