According to the results of the outgoing year, comics will show sales growth in physical terms by 50-70%, retailers, marketplaces and specialized stores predict. However, already in 2023, market participants are preparing to feel the effect of the loss of foreign licenses, in particular, Marvel. Sellers and publishers are looking for ways to import substitution and hope for active publication of comics by Korean, Chinese and Russian authors. increased by 73% in units compared to last year, Kommersant was told in the company, without giving absolute numbers. Despite the revocation of foreign licenses, the network received all the significant popular novelties, the retailer claims. Earlier, Marvel (Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Avengers, etc.) suspended the sale of licenses for new comics to Russian publishers, while the company did not revoke the licenses purchased before the start of the military operation in Ukraine.
Sales of comics and manga on Ozon are growing faster than the entire Book category, the company said. “The segment’s turnover growth for nine months was 56% against the growth of books as a whole by 31% yoy, with all categories growing from a high base,” they noted. Interest in comics is supported by the launch of film versions – this year a series based on the Chainsaw Man manga was released, and the manga itself became one of the most bought in 2022, they say in Ozon.
and specialized comic book stores. Denis Lopatnikov, the owner of the Takapulta comic book store, expects sales growth of around 50% this year: “Based on the fact that the entire Russian book market in 2021 was about 65 billion rubles, and the share of comics was about 2%, then we get the figure in the region of 1.3 billion rubles.”
Some market participants at the same time record a decrease in the number of orders. Dmitry Utrobin, general director of the MIF publishing house, said that the number of orders for comics in the online store decreased by 15% over the course of 11 months. “We see the same picture as in 2021 – sales are still tied to seasonality and new releases,” he notes.
The loss of licenses in the comics segment will be felt in 2023, waiting in the network “Chitai-Gorod-Bukvoed”. “Now the series are being released under the licenses that were purchased earlier. But we are looking for ways to replace and hope for the active publication of comics by Korean and Chinese authors,” the company says. The reader will feel this only in 2023-2024, when the contracts will come to an end, and new ones will not be renewed, Dmitry Utrobin explains. “Right now the main driver of the market is Asian comics,” he says. Denis Lopatnikov estimates the share of foreign publications that stopped the supply of new products in sales at 50-60%. “The balance is not endless, and the circulation of published comics is not large enough to provide us with the whole of 2023, but I am sure that during this period there will be publishers ready to cooperate with us,” he notes.
Retailers are counting on Russian authors to partially compensate for the loss of Marvel comics. “For example, comics by the author Fyodor Nechitailo show consistently high sales, and after the release of the film Major Grom: The Plague Doctor in 2021, interest in Russian comics has increased significantly,” says a representative of the Chitay-Gorod-Bukvoed company. Ozon notes that the release of the film’s prequel could be a factor in the growth in demand for the series in 2023. In the first half of the year, the top 5 most popular books in fiction on Ozon included the comic book by the Russian author “Land of Kings”, and now the top most popular comics for nine months are 50% from comics by Russian authors, according to the company. However, in some segments, import substitution will be more difficult, market participants expect. Some European publishing houses “froze” projects, Dmitry Utrobin notes: “There will be fewer children’s comics on the market, and it is quite difficult to replace them with high-quality analogues.”