Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Mangas download trend – will it reach western countries?

June 5th, 2007 by


While manga downloads is a growing trend in Japan, I can’t resist bringing it up as a trend we might all take part in.

As can be learned from The Japan Times Online: “In Japan, graphic novels have been a major part of society since the late 1940s, and the art form has become a key export to countries both in Asia and the West. But while printed books are costly to translate and distribute, digital propagation could make manga’s influence practically limitless. Takarajima Wondernet already has fledgling plans to offer its stories to mobile phone users in the United States or around Asia once it finds partners in those countries, and faces relatively low costs to do so. In addition, it will be easier to tweak the digital content to suit foreign users.”

Manga- a popular trend in Japan:
According to Wireless Watch Japan “the marriage between cell-phone technology and manga comic books, which are wildly popular across all ages in Japan, is a natural progression in a nation where people already download music, games and even novels onto their mobiles”.
animenewsnetwork have provided some interesting data concerning the popularity of manga downloads in Japan. In this post they refer to Infoplant (Japanese internet research firm) recent survey conducted on 5,400 mobile internet users (iMode).
91.8% knew of the existence of manga downloads,
Among them 40% had actually downloaded a manga title,
Over 60% of those surveyed reported that they plan to download manga in the future.

Manga – a potential trend in western countries:
Forrester recent report addresses the question of Europe adopting Japan’s mobile trends and suggests a cautionary approach. Taking into account that Japan is not the best predictor for trends in USA and Europe, can we still expect manga’s trend to go western? Alternatively – might this trend change faces to other western animated figures – Disney or other? 

More data from Infoplant survey report (translated by Nir Malkit, my good friend)

Sample: Male 37.2%, Female 62.8%.

Survey was conducted on 8-15 of May, 2007

Habits: those who downloaded the manga usually read it:
62.3% in bed
21.4% right after they arrive home
16.8% on the move (to/from school/work)

Types of manga downloaded (answered by those who download)
70.1% of men referred to men/boys Manga
80.5% of women referred to women/girls Manga

Download frequencies (answered by those who download)
11.9% more than 5 times a month
8.3% about 3-4 times a month
7.8% about 1-2 times a month
15.6% about 1 time in 2-3 months
13.2% about 1 time in 6 months
33.2% less than 1 time in 6 months

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8 Responses

  1. Breaking Rumors, News, Truemors Says:

    […] the next trend in western countries will be mangas download (hot in Japan!) News no score link spread 2:16 am bytrendsearch […]

  2. MangaBlog » Blog Archive » It’s old but it’s good Says:

    […] Trendspotting has lots of info on manga downloading in Japan and wonders whether it will spread to other countries. […]

  3. ComiPress Says:

    Will Manga Downloads be Popular in the West?…

    From Trendsspotting (via MangaBlog) comes an article that looks at the popularity of manga downloads in Japan, and whether the trend will spread to the West. Also included is a translation of the survey from Infoplant on manga downloads:

  4. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » June 21, 2007: The Devil went down to Georgia Says:

    […] Trendspotting gathers recent data on the Japanese comics fans’ increasing use of cellphones to read manga. Perhaps the most interesting nugget is how the readership breaks down by gender: Some two-thirds of digital manga readers are women. On a related note, ComiPress summarizes a report by the Japanese market-research company Seed Planning, which states that e-manga was responsible for two-thirds of the digital book market in 2006, a five-fold increase in a ¥28 billion — roughly $226,473,000 American — overall market that itself grew three-fold in the last year. (Right: promotional image from the website promoting Flex Comix’ cellphone manga initiative, ©2007 Flex Comix Inc. You’ll recall that Flex is the Japanese manga company into which DC Comics recently announced a substantial investment. First link via Brigid Alverson.) […]

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  6. g Says:

    My prediction:

    manga downloads will have a small niche in American society, but will never gain mainstream popularity.

    manga, anime have a place in American culture, but the fact remains that Japanese cultural norms, values, spiritual beliefs make up the predominant themes of this media.

    expect “artistic”/”creative”/counterculture (however you define that demographic/psychographic) to be the primary consumers.

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  8. Hugh Kasmir Says:

    Very good researched article, I like your style of writing. But think about more structure, its very difficult to get an overview and to repeat your point of view in discussions. please keep on writing!

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