Anime Industry Report 2022 (Part 4): Anime Character Merchandise Grew to Its Best Since 2015, Music Went Up as Well, Black Clover Being the Best-Selling Audio Software Series Second Year in a Row

Note that this article will be a part of a series of articles about the Anime industry in 2021. Due to the size of the report, I have decided to split them into several sections. You can find the rest here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 – You are here

This is just a slightly more detailed coverage of the report, plus additional information and analyses from myself. However, if you seek to obtain further information, feel free to help yourself to the report right here. Note that it is only available in Japanese. Or check out the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) here for a summary of the industry made on yearly basis.

When looking at the numbers, please note that the figures may differ from the prior years since they are constantly updated (on a yearly basis).

As Market Returns to Normalisation, Character Merchandise and Music Market Also Went Up

The overall Character Merchandise market has gone up by 3.03% y-o-y to 1,530 billion yen (≈11.51 billion USD) as the market slowly recovered throughout the year from the pandemic. Although the state of emergency declared was temporarily lifted in March, it was reissued again between April and July and as such, making it difficult for the market to reach its optimum potential as many events had to be either be cancelled or held in a limited sense, nevertheless, that still gave it room for growth. In 2019, the market was worth 1,550 billion yen (≈11.66 billion USD) before the pandemic wreaked havoc in Japan. However, it was 2014 that became the market’s best performance ever since 2011, reaching a high 1,690 billion yen (≈12.71 billion USD). Out of the 1,530 billion yen (≈11.51 billion USD) it was worth in 2021, 663.1 billion yen (≈4.99 billion USD) alone belonged to the Japanese Anime Character market, which would put its share at 43.34% and presenting a 13.95% growth y-o-y. Like the entire Character Merchandise market, the Anime Merchandise market also reached its highest point since 2011 in the year 2014 where the market was valued at 655.2 billion yen (≈4.93 billion USD).

Note that this market is extremely crucial as it took up 24.2% of the entire Japanese animation market in 2021, sitting behind the Overseas market that accounted for 47.9% of the market which counts a broader spectrum of factors, hence receipts from sales of character merchandise overseas may be less than the total 47.9%. Therefore, if the market were to suffer a major setback, it would deal quite a significant blow to the overall market.

One of the reasons attributable to the rise of the market was the sales made from Kimetsu no Yaiba which continued to carry on at a strong momentum from the year 2020. The series saw new joint ventures with other major companies throughout the year such as with Universal Studios Japan, KDDI (a Japanese telecommunications operator), All Nippon Airways etc. Prior to 2021, the series had already had numerous tie-ups with Lawson, Bandai Namco, Asahi Soft Drinks and many more. 

The Universal Studios Japan x Kimetsu no Yaiba collaboration that happened from September 17, 2021.
More about the collaboration can be learned

The KDDI x Kimetsu no Yaiba collab under their mobile operator AU brand in Japan

The All Nippon Airways x Kimetsu no Yaiba tie up

But, it was not just Kimetsu no Yaiba having a stellar year, other titles rallied on as well. The Pokémon card game and its other related licensed products performed amicably, then demand for Gunpla models from the Mobile Suit Gundam series were strong despite the pandemic. Various other commercialization efforts for both new and old titles such as Jujutsu Kaisen and Tokyo Revengers were great too. 

The market will most likely see another strong year in 2022 as the momentum builds on, coupled with the normalisation of the market and the emergence of new titles or new works such as Spy x Family and One Piece Film Red, and supported by an aggressive social network promotion strategy, will spur demand for products related to these titles.

As for Music

The market for Anime music has grown by 15.10% from 27.55 billion yen (≈207.23 million USD) in 2020 to 31.71 billion yen (≈238.52 million USD) in 2021 which is still quite far from the 41.42 billion yen (≈311.56 million USD) it achieved in 2009. Of the total, sales from CDs alone were valued at 19.12 billion yen (≈143.82 million USD), a 9.04% increase from the prior year, accounting for 60.28% of the total market while digital market, valued at 12.60 billion yen (≈94.78 million USD), a 25.71% improvement from the year before, accounted for 39.72% of the total market share in 2021. As for Anime CD sales, this is its second weakest to date since 2008 after reaching its peak at 30.67 billion yen (≈230.70 million USD) in 2009 and as for digital sales, this would be its best performance by far since 2008 with its second best being for the year 2010 where the market was valued at 10.91 billion yen (≈82.06 million USD). It remains to be seen how well the market will perform from 2022 onwards as streaming has gotten stronger in recent years.

As for performance title-wise, Black Clover was still the best-selling series when it comes to its music for the second year in a row. The previous year, the series topped the list at 1.71 billion yen (≈12.86 million USD), though for 2021, sales had settled down a little by 0.96% to 1.70 billion yen (≈12.79 million USD). Still large considering the end of its Anime that occurred in March 2021. Likewise, Love Live! Sunshine!! which was Number 2 the year before has its position remains unchanged for the year 2021, selling 1.24 billion yen (≈9.33 billion USD) worth of audio software, up by 9.19% y-o-y. However, if you consider other Love Live! related titles that occupy the list, the series would have comfortably placed 1st with total sales at 2.23 billion yen (≈16.77 million USD). As for Number 3, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations slipped in at 757.20 million yen (≈5.70 million USD), yet lower than Fugou Keiji: Balance:Unlimited that occupied the same spot the year before at 1.01 billion yen (≈7.60 million USD).

Note that the below charts onward are based on Oricon’s yearly sales data that measured sales occured from December 14, 2020 to December 12, 2021.

Top 20 Anime Audio Software in 2021

Rank Title Sales (¥)
1 Black Clover 1,697,900,000
2 Love Live! Sunshine!! 1,236,400,000
3 Boruto: Naruto Next Generations 757,200,000
4 Love Live! Superstar!! 445,600,000
5 Re-Main 404,100,000
6 Hanyou no Yashahime 307,800,000
7 Macross Δ Movie: Zettai Live!!! 301,000,000
8 Santa Company: Manatsu no Merry Christmas 293,500,000
9 Hypnosis Mic: Division Rap Battle – Rhyme Anima 283,500,000
10 Kimetsu no Yaiba 270,100,000
11 Doraemon Movie: Nobita no Little Star Wars 253,000,000
12 Kick & Slide 220,400,000
13 Love Live! Series 194,800,000
14 Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai 180,700,000
15 Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time 175,100,000
16 Love Live! Sunshine!! Series 170,100,000
17 Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime 166,700,000
18 IDOLiSH7 Third Beat! 152,300,000
19 BanG Dream! 141,800,000
20 BanG Dream! Movie: Episode of Roselia – I: Yakusoku 139,800,000

In terms of copies sold for CDs, Black Clover’s soundtrack Grandeur, performed by boy band Snow Man were ahead of others by a big margin, selling 1,003,113 copies. Santa Company: Manatsu no Merry Christmas is 2nd with Hitorigoto de Kataru Kurainara by Japanese idol group STU48 at 236,317 copies while Hanyou no Yashahime took the 3rd and 4th spots with its BURN and Mirai e / ReBorn singles at 155,010 copies and 137,906 sold each.

Top 20 Anime Singles CD in 2021

Rank Title Related Anime Copies Sold
1 Grandeur Black Clover 1,003,113
2 Hitorigoto de Kataru Kurainara Santa Company: Manatsu no Merry Christmas 236,317
3 BURN Hanyou no Yashahime 155,010
4 Mirai e / ReBorn Hanyou no Yashahime 137,906
5 KISSIN’MY LIPS/Stories Black Clover 101,266
6 Boku Ga Motteru Mono Nara 22/7 78,893
7 Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ 10th Anniversary CD (STAR WISH,
Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ 78,027
8 Homura Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-hen 70,107
9 Kakusei 22/7 61,910
10 Akeboshi / Shirogane Kimetsu no Yaiba 61,246
11 Ensemble Stars! ES Idol Song Season 1 Switch (Omoi no Kakera) Ensemble Stars! 58,297
12 Universe Official Hige Dandism 57,530
13 Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Shining All Star CD3 (Grateful Friends,
Graceful Ways / Ready Steady Race!)
Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ 53,392
14 Ensemble Stars! ES Idol Song Season 2 Switch (Yubisaki no Ariadne) Ensemble Stars! 50,559
15 LIVE with a smile! Love Live! Series 48,842
16 Towazugatari / Honoo Touken Ranbu Series 47,177
17 Butterfly / Solitude Rain / VIVID WORLD Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai 44,620
18 Kaibutsu / Yasashii Suisei Beastars 44,096
19 Scarlet Lips Touken Ranbu Series 41,551
20 not ALONE not HITORI / Miracle STAY TUNE! / Shooting Voice!! Love Live! Series 40,864

Digital sales witnessed BeastarsKaibutsu by Japanese music superduo Yoasobi leading the list at 331,548 copies. Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-hen’s Homura by LiSA which was the 3rd best-selling Anime single CD and 2nd best-selling digital single the year before maintained its 2nd position here at 327,197 copies, down 53.91%. Tokyo RevengersCry Baby by Official Hige Dandism is 3rd at 276,716 copies sold.

Top 20 Anime Digital Singles

Rank Title Related Anime Copies Sold
1 Kaibutsu Beastars 331,548
2 Homura Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Ressha-hen 327,197
3 Cry Baby Tokyo Revengers 276,716
4 Kaikai Kitan Jujutsu Kaisen 257,091
5 One Last Kiss Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time 223,623
6 Akeboshi Kimetsu no Yaiba 195,201
7 Niji Stand By Me Doraemon 2 188,679
8 Gurenge Kimetsu no Yaiba 150,887
9 U Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime 138,102
10 Senkou Kidou Senshi Gundam: Senkou no Hathaway 123,686
11 Comet Beastars 119,143
12 Umapyoi Densetsu Uma Musume: Pretty Derby 101,828
13 Kamado Tanjirou no Uta Kimetsu no Yaiba 99,895
14 VIVID VICE Jujutsu Kaisen 99,131
15 Zankyosanka Kimetsu no Yaiba 93,040
16 Universe Doraemon Movie: Nobita no Little Star Wars 89,968
17 Shirogane Kimetsu no Yaiba 85,937
18 Yume wo Kakeru Uma Musume: Pretty Derby 80,250
19 GIRLS’ LEGEND U Uma Musume: Pretty Derby 67,749
20 Make Debut! Uma Musume: Pretty Derby 63,273

If you find any faults with the article above, please do not hesitate to let me know! Also, don’t shy away from dropping a comment or two down below and share your thoughts with us!

Note. The data from AJA included for Blu-ray and DVD comes from Oricon Entertainment Market White Paper here.

Previous industry report: 2021 (Part 4)
Follow-up industry report:
Sources: The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA)

In the event that the graphs above do not work well for you, please utilise the Google charts below:
Overall + Anime Character Merchandise Trend
Anime Music CD + Digital Sales Trend

Anime Character Merchandise and Music Market Trend (As of 2021)
Top 20 Anime Audio Software (2021)

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