VTuber Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2023

VTuber Market to Expand to 80 Billion Yen, 153.8% on YoY fot FY2023

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) conducted a survey on the domestic VTuber market and found out the trends by segment which has four domains, the trends of market players, and future perspectives on VTubers.

VTuber Market Size Transition
VTuber Market Size Transition
VTuber Market Share by Segment
VTuber Market Share by Segment

Market Overview

Originating from Kizuna AI that first appeared in 2016, VTubers who post their videos in their “Anime”-like character appearances (avatars) are an emerging method to express themselves. Behavior restrictions amid the corona crisis has surged at-home video viewing demand, which expanded the awareness and popularity of VTubers. The VTuber market size in FY2022, based on the sales for the business in question at companies operating VTuber management offices or projects, has expanded to 52,000 million yen, 167.7% on a YoY basis.
When observing the sales by segment, product sales has generated 26,700 million yen, occupying 51.3%, the majority, of the market, followed by live streaming 13,500 million yen which accounted for 26.0%, B2B reaching 7,800 million yen (15.0%), and events 4,000 million yen (7.7%). At the same time, the product sales segment has attained the highest growth rate. With overall growth continues, though the growth rate has somewhat subsided, the VTuber market is expected to generate 80,000 million yen for FY2023, 153.8% on a YoY basis.

The VTuber market is now at the similar sizes as “Doujinshi (Fanzine)” at 800,000 million yen (*1: FY2021, based on retail amount), and “Trading cards” at 792,000 million yen (*2: FY2021, based on the shipment values at manufacturers) in the Otaku/subculture contents industry.

*1) Otaku Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2022 (released on 26 October 2022)
*2) Toy Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2022 (released on 11 January 2023)

Noteworthy Topics

“VTubers” Having Two-Sided Properties of IP and Influencer

VTubers, from how they have been developed, have two-sided properties, one, having the avatar rights (intellectual property) and two, being influencers, which is the very difference from YouTubers, anime voice actors and actresses, or other contents.

As VTubers are in action when they appear in anime-like avatars (characters), the sales of those products as well as the games and anime works using that character designs involve IP license business.
As VTubers are not the pure anime characters, but are the original characters invented by the performer for him/her to play that role, they directly communicate with the audiences live and talk about the stories and incidents familiar with the performers themselves. Therefore, in addition to having attractive, anime-like appearances, they can act as influencers who send live and true messages and information, which is expected to contribute to tie-up advertising.

Future Outlook

VTubers have started establishing themselves as an emerging content as can see from the companies that operate VTuber production offices (*3) have begun being listed one after another in the Tokyo Stock Exchange Growth Market since 2022.
As the popularity of VTubers spread to overseas, major production offices are eager in acquiring fans and opening offices overseas.
As VTubers look like anime characters, they can act as influencers in digital world. With their good affinity with Metaverse, businesses are vigorous in investment in the area as well.

*3) Consumer Survey on VTubers in Japan: Key Research Findings 2023 (released on 16 May 2023)

Research Outline

1.Research Period: February to June 2023
2.Research Object: VTuber-management or production offices, companies operating VTuber events, etc.
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews (including online) by expert researchers, questionnaire, survey via telephone, and literature research

About VTubers

VTubers or Virtual YouTubers, are the performers with their appearances in 2D or 3D avatars, usually in anime style, and post their content on video platforms such as YouTube. Among them, this research targets those VTubers who apply to the following conditions: 1) The performer (also community manager inside) whose appearance in an anime-like avatar, playing the role as a unique character made up, 2) the character has both the properties of an influencer and IP (Intellectual Property).
Note that so-called “Livers” generated and active within live streaming apps such as “IRIAM” and “REALITY” are not included in this research, but “AITuber (pronounced ‘itubers’)” that has no performer but are in action by AI language generation and VTubers who have their voice actors’/actresses’ names written as CV (Character Voice) are included.

About VTuber Market
The market size for VTubers in this research has been calculated based on the sales for the business in question at companies operating VTuber management offices or projects.
The market has been categorized into the following four segments: 1) Live streaming (profits from advertisement, super chat within video streaming, and the membership), 2) Events (profits from selling tickets for live, concerts and other events, 3) Product sales (profits from tangible products such as commemorative items, and from music downloads), and 4) B2B (profits from tie-up advertisement, copyrights and merchandising rights business by IP licenses).  

<Products and Services in the Market>

VTubers, VTuber-management/production offices/projects, Companies operating VTuber production offices

Published Report

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