The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on various industries, and the comics industry is no exception. The sudden shift to online sales and the closure of comic book stores have forced publishers and creators to adapt to new ways of reaching readers. The pandemic has also affected the production and release of comics, causing delays and uncertainty. This article will explore the impact of COVID-19 on the comics industry, including the changes in sales and distribution, the challenges faced by creators and publishers, and the potential long-term effects on the industry.

The American Comics Industry Shut Down For The First Time in 80 Years During The Covid Pandemic

Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry - The American Comics Industry Shut Down For The First Time in 80 Years During The Covid Pandemic
Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry – The American Comics Industry Shut Down For The First Time in 80 Years During The Covid Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the comic book industry, leading to the closure of Diamond Comic Distributors, the near-monopoly on the circulation of comic books in North America. This decision, made by CEO Steve Geppi, cites various problems related to the pandemic including difficulty for retailers to service customers, supply chain issues for publishing partners, and delayed shipping. This unprecedented move has resulted in a halt on the production and distribution of new comic books, marking the first time in over 80 years that “New Comics Day” has been suspended. This event, unlike any other global crisis in history, has the potential to drastically transform the operations of major comic book publishers and the overall comic book culture.

Cancellation of Conventions

Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry
Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of two major comic book conventions, San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con, both of which were scheduled to take place in the summer of 2020 and fall respectively. The cancellations were made due to health concerns and marked the first time in decades that these events wouldn’t be held. The organizers of both conventions expressed disappointment but acknowledged that it was the right decision. In response, a virtual convention was organized, known as Comic-Con@Home, but it was not well-received by attendees. According to social media analytics firm ListenFirst, engagement for the virtual event was down 95% compared to previous in-person events.

Sales Data, How COVID-19 Impacted The Comics Industry

Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry - Sales Data, How COVID-19 Impacted The Comics Industry
Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry – Sales Data, How COVID-19 Impacted The Comics Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the comics retail industry, leading to a 29% decline in sales over the summer according to data from the ComicHub POS system. This data also shows a 37% decrease in sales of comic books, 18% decrease in graphic novels and 8% decrease in manga sales. This has resulted in the closure of at least 93 retailers. However, the story is different for the bookstore channel, which now accounts for the majority of comic and graphic novel sales. Bookstores, with their larger retail footprint, robust online presence and broad-based distribution system, have been able to weather the short-term disruptions caused by the pandemic better. In fact, according to NPD Bookscan, 2020 sales were tracking closely to 2019 comparables until a six-week period in the depths of the COVID crisis in late spring, but then rebounded stronger than expected through the remainder of the year.

Market Growth & Future of the Comics Industry

The comic book industry has grown significantly in recent years and has expanded beyond being just for children. Comics have long been considered a medium for art and political commentary through fictional characters. With the increasing use of digital technology, comics writers, illustrators, and publishers have been able to reach a larger audience. Additionally, the growing popularity of digital comics is expected to drive demand for graphic novels. The increasing use of smartphones is also expected to boost the adoption of comics and increase sales. These factors are likely to drive market growth. However, the wide availability of alternatives and high prices in certain countries may impede market growth.

Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry
Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry

The global comic book market is valued at USD 14.69 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow to USD 21.37 billion by 2029, with a CAGR of 4.8% during the forecast period, according to Fortune Business Insights. The growth is attributed to increasing comic book production and the rising popularity of big brand graphic novel movies. However, the market was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased reliance on the internet. The lockdowns implemented to curb the spread of the virus led to an increase in digital and physical comic sales through online outlets. For example, in March 2020, as per figures provided by Live Mint, the relaxation of lockdowns resulted in an increase in the consumption of comics, books, and mobile apps, driving market growth during the pandemic.

Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry - Market Growth & Future of the Comics Industry
Impact of Covid 19 On Comics Industry – Market Growth & Future of the Comics Industry

The Asia Pacific region is expected to dominate the comic book market share, driven by the rapid growth of the anime industry. The market in North America was valued at USD 7.60 billion in 2021 and is expected to see significant growth during the forecast period. The expanding e-commerce sector is also expected to contribute to market growth.

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