No.2836
10/25/2021

Otaku Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2021

Of the Major 13 Categories in Otaku Market, 9 Categories Diminished in FY2020 Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, While 4 Hobby-Related Categories Expanded by At-Home Demand

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the domestic Otaku market for FY2020 and disclosed the trends by category, the trends of market players, and future perspectives.


Otaku Market Size Transition by Major Category
Otaku Market Size Transition by Major Category

Market Overview

The Otaku market in this research had good and bad results depending on how the category was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the major thirteen categories in the market, four categories grew positively and the rest of nine categories shrank in FY2020.

The four categories that successfully grew were plastic models, model figures, model railroads  (including dioramas and other peripheral products), and toy guns, while the nine categories that shrank were anime/animation, coterie magazines, dolls, popular idols, professional wrestling, cosplay clothing, services relating to maids and costume plays, vocaloid (including related products), and survival games.

Noteworthy Topics

Hobby-related Markets Expanded by Stay-Home Demand

In FY2020 when the new coronavirus struck, of the major thirteen categories in the Otaku market, four categories relating to hobbies (plastic models, model figures, model railroads [including dioramas and other peripheral products], and toy guns) have positively grown. These categories enjoyed expansion of stay-home demand stemming from COVID-19 pandemic causing people to refrain from going outside.

In addition to existing users, plastic models were bought by dormant users as well as new users who selected plastic models as their new playing tool. Plastic models were also bought as a communication tool for fathers and children.
The growth of model figures were driven by the following factors: Increased opportunities for existing users to buy model figures online; the effect of popular titles represented by “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba”; and being a method to alleviate the stress from unable to go outside.
For railway modelling, popular rolling stocks, tracks, and peripheral products sold stably well. Especially, purchasing of additional rails, sound systems, and products for layout and dioramas by existing users stood out.
Toy guns showed favorable sales because of increased number of people enjoying maintenance and customizing of their own toy guns at home, which increased the sales of peripheral parts used for maintenance in addition to the main toy guns, while the opportunity of visiting the facilities to play survival games and shooting using toy guns decreased. 

Future Outlook

Anime (animation) and popular idols, which are the major categories of the Otaku market, are expected to recover from sluggishness because of gradual lift from regulations making each company to take the “With-Coronavirus” measures. That said however, the recovery is likely to be limited, without being able to reach the level before COVID-19.

The anime (animation) market size for FY2021 based on the sales at production companies is expected to rise by 1.8 percent from the previous fiscal year to reach 280,000 million yen. Although the number of TV animation releases is likely to increase from the previous fiscal year, considerable recovery of the market cannot be expected, because the prolonged COVID-19 calamity brings about the concerns of postponement of releases and broadcasting of movies and TV programs, postponement or suspension of events, voluntary restraint of operating character shops to sell character product, etc. In addition, the influence to the business is continuing in that limited admission at theaters decelerating the growth of box-office revenues, and that the events related with the films having been postponed or suspended.

On the other hand, the video streaming business is projected to expand in Japan and abroad, as continuous requests to stay home have increased the time to spend at home, accelerating the number of video-streaming service users. In the situation where the Japanese anime industry having acquired international popularity, there have been increasing cases of those anime production companies dealing with overseas video streaming platform vendors and video streaming service providers. In recent years, Netflix (USA), Tencent (China), bilibili (China) and other overseas video streaming platform vendors have been interested in Japanese domestic animation production companies, which led to direct contract for exclusive streaming of the works, capital provisions, or establishment of animation production studios in Japan.

Meanwhile, the popular idol market size for FY2021, based on the amount spent by users, is expected to rise by 7.1 percent to reach 150,000 million yen.

As the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic still continues in FY2021, preventing popular idols from carrying out their entertainment activities, the market size recovery is projected to be somewhat limited, although the desperate situation where nothing could be done in the first half of FY2020 has finished.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: July to September 2021
2.Research Object: Organizations and providers of contents, products, and services pertaining to Otaku categories
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the specialized researchers, survey via telephone, online questionnaire, and literature search.

The Otaku Market

The Otaku market in this research refers to the contents, product sales and services that have a certain number of maniac fans and are available at Akihabara and other “sacred” locations for Otaku. Target categories of the Otaku market in this research are anime/cartoon films, manga (including e-comics), light novels, coterie magazines, plastic models, model figures, dolls, model railroads (including dioramas and other peripheral products), popular idols, professional wrestling, cosplay clothing, services relating to maids and cosplays, online gaming (for smartphone games), vocaloid (including related products), toy guns, and survival games. This report discloses the sizes of the major thirteen categories.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Anime/cartoon films, comics/manga (including e-comics), light novels, coterie magazines, plastic models, model figures, dolls, model railroads (including dioramas and other peripheral products), popular idols, professional wrestling, costume plays clothing, services relating to maids and costume plays, online games, vocaloid, toy guns, and survival games.

Published Report

Contact Us

©2021 Yano Research Institute Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
The copyright and all other rights pertaining to this report belong to Yano Research Institute.
Please contact our PR team when quoting the report contents for the purpose other than media coverage.
Depending on the purpose of using our report, we may ask you to present your sentences for confirmation beforehand.