Here is some very interesting market research into the size and growth rates of various otaku related markets in 2007; the data should give you some idea of the scale of the industries in question. Essential reading, in fact:
(A billion yen is about 10 million US dollars; the percentages represent growth over the previous year)
|Digital comics:||¥25 billion, +147.5%|
|Doujinshi:||¥55 billion, +13.5%|
|Plamo:||¥26.8 billion, +1.9%|
|Figures:||¥26 billion, +8.3%|
|Dolls:||¥13.5 billion, +3.8%|
|Model railways:||¥15.2 billion, +5.6%|
|Toy guns:||¥5.3 billion, -8.6%|
|Idol:||¥50.5 billion, -4.7%|
|Cosplay:||¥36 billion, +6.8%|
|Maid/cosplay related services:||¥10.5 billion, -18.6%|
|Eroge:||¥34.1 billion, -2.8%|
|AV:||¥61.5 billion, -7%|
The figures were compiled with the cooperation of businesses and industry groups. What’s included in the various categories is likely obvious. The report itself.
The level of detail they provide about their research methods is less than impressive, especially since they fail to comment on whether they had fewer or more data sources for this year versus the previous.
Still, if we take these figures as general estimates they are sound enough, and there is certainly little better available.
You may notice that anime, manga, light novels and games are absent – presumably include much in the way of non-otaku items.
Some research brings up the following slightly less current information regarding these omissions:
The anime market (including cartoons, etc.) is estimated to be about ¥210 billion in 2005; its current state is not clear. Frankly, this seems too low, considering what we saw above…
The manga market is some ¥500 billion as of 2005, but it has apparently been shrinking year on year for some time and is now below that level.
It is inappropriate to include games in my opinion as there is no way of discriminating between the various genres, platforms and visual styles with this level of data, but it will not hurt to mention that the 2005 figure was ¥1,100 billion, which has likely increased since then. Games are the future convergence medium, after all.
All these figures are basically domestic in nature, although likely include some international sales.
In conclusion, the otaku markets look to be in the $4 billion region by this count (depending on how much of the anime, manga, and game markets we include, it could be much higher), inaccurate as it is.
More interesting are the trends evident in the data however, with an enormous doujinshi market evident, and strong growth on a variety of fronts – I leave the rest of the analysis to you.