Save 20-35% on Marvel Pre-Orders at TFAW.com
Search Comichron for comics sales reports!
Loading

January 2014 comics dollars steady, graphic novel orders decline

Friday, February 7, 2014

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCBat27
January 2014 was a fairly wretched month for weather in the United States and Canada, and that may have played some role in a softer market for comics, judging from the data released this morning from Diamond Comic Distributors. Comics shops sold nearly $39 million worth of comic books and graphic novels in January, off 5% from last January. Comic book dollar orders were essentially unchanged, but the graphic novel category dropped against difficult competition from the previous year.

It was the first year-over-year decline since August, and the first January drop since 2011. But it's still 21% better than January 2012 — a time after the DC relaunch — so these things are all relative!

January is always an odd duck statistically, and not just because of the weather: the holidays at the beginning of the year impact shipping and how Diamond accounts for sales. Both this January and last January had five Wednesdays, but in each case, the first week's sales were invoiced with the last week of December. So a lot of sales that really did happen in January were counted with the previous month—and same for last January.

The comparative statistics across time:

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS


DOLLARS UNITS
January 2014 Vs. December 2013

Comics -5.87% -7.17%
Graphic Novels -11.65% -9.89%
Total Comics/GNs -7.71% -7.39%



January 2014 Vs. January 2013

Comics -0.42% -7.45%
Graphic Novels -14.28% -6.99%
Total Comics/GNs -5.09% -7.42%



Twelve-Month Rolling Comparison

Comics 8.52% 4.61%
Graphic Novels 2.57% 2.48%
Total Comics/GNs 6.63% 4.44%

Marvel led the market shares in a month in which eight publishers had dollar shares above 2%; I can't find that happening anytime in the recent past, and a cursory search of some likely months a decade ago (when Wizard would have been in the list) hasn't found an instance either. Eaglemoss had 14 magazines out in the month, bumping it above 2%.

The market shares:

Publisher Dollar share Unit Share
Marvel Comics 34.09% 37.39%
DC Comics 28.06% 30.77%
Image Comics 8.78% 10.10%
IDW Publishing 5.71% 5.08%
Dark Horse Comics 4.74% 4.22%
Dynamic Forces 2.81% 2.69%
Boom Entertainment 2.25% 1.99%
Eaglemoss Publications 2.14% 0.43%
Viz 1.26% 0.51%
Avatar Press 1.05% 0.87%
Other Non-Top 10 9.11% 5.95%
 
Batman #27 was the top-selling comic book, beating out the $8 Detective Comics #27, which likely did better in dollar sales. Despite the overall drop and a drop in unit orders, comics sales were almost exactly flat versus last January in dollar terms, thanks in part to the Detective issue.

The top-selling comic books:

RANK DESCRIPTION  PRICE  VENDOR
1 Batman #27  $3.99 DC
2 Detective Comics #27  $7.99 DC
3 Avengers World #1  $3.99 Marvel
4 Justice League #27  $3.99 DC
5 Superior Spider-Man #25  $4.99 Marvel
6 All New X-Men #22.Now  $3.99 Marvel
7 Superior Spider-Man #26  $3.99 Marvel
8 Harley Quinn #2  $2.99 DC
9 Avengers #25  $3.99 Marvel
10 Justice League of America #11  $3.99 DC

Graphic novel sales, led by Saga Vol. 1, were the weak link in the market this month, down double-digits from the previous January. Last January had a new Fables release at the top of the charts and Saga Vol. 1 was newer then, so the competition last year was stronger.

The top-selling graphic novels:

RANK DESCRIPTION  PRICE  VENDOR
1 Saga Volume 1  $9.99 Image
2 The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye  $14.99 Image
3 All-New X-Men Volume 1: Yesterday's X-Men  $19.99 Marvel
4 Superior Spider-Man Vol. 4: Necessary Evil  $17.99 Marvel
5 Batman '66: The TV Stories  $14.99 DC
6 Saga Volume 2  $14.99 Image
7 X-Men: Battle Of The Atom HC  $49.99 Marvel
8 The Unwritten Volume 8: Orpheus In The Underworlds  $16.99 DC
9 Batman: The Dark Knight Volume 2: Cycle Of Violence  $14.99 DC
10 Thor: God Of Thunder Vol. 1: God Butcher  $19.99 Marvel

And finally, the number of new releases:
PUBLISHER Comics Graphic Novels Magazines Total shipped
DC 83 23 0 106
Marvel 79 27 0 106
Image 53 11 0 64
IDW 38 15 0 53
Viz 0 45 0 45
Dynamic Forces 36 4 0 40
Dark Horse 26 12 0 38
Boom 26 7 0 33
Avatar 16 2 1 19
Eaglemoss 0 0 14 14
Other 77 108 21 206
TOTAL 434 254 36 724
 As I've written on Comichron for many years, wintry January was, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, what back-to-school September was for comics in the 1980s — a time when momentum ended and sales dropped. Publishers tended to launch fewer major initiatives in "the Dead Quarter." This effect has increasingly diminished over time, as publishers have tended to even out their releases a bit more. Diamond didn't release a list like the above one for January 2013, but there were 739 items shipped in December — 471 comics and 239 graphic novels. About 10 fewer comics a week, about four more graphic novels.

With January, we now have eleven years of Final Order data from Diamond, and we can see how past Januaries did. First, here's how they Overall Sales did versus the Januaries of the year before:

January 2004: $21.9 million, +4.29%
January 2005: $23.2 million, +6.39%
January 2006: $25.56 million, +9.7%
January 2007: $33.71 million, +31.89%
January 2008: $34.56 million, +2.52%
January 2009: $31.31 million, -9.4%
January 2010: $32.01 million, +2.23%
January 2011: $25.31 million, -20.91%
January 2012: $32.27 million, +27.47%
January 2013: $41.06 million, +27.16%
January 2014: $38.97 million, -5.09%

So we see that January beats always happened during the growth years of the mid-1990s, with the largest being in 2007, when Civil War #6 came out. In 2012 and 2013, January sales increased by a combined $15 million.

Now, let's compare these figures with Decembers past:

December 2003 to January 2004: -23.69%
December 2004 to January 2005: -23.33%
December 2005 to January 2006: -19.19%
December 2006 to January 2007: +0.27%
December 2007 to January 2008: -3.68%
December 2008 to January 2009: -21.29%
December 2009 to January 2010: -10.27%
December 2010 to January 2011: -29.95%
December 2011 to January 2012: -6.73%
December 2012 to January 2013: +3.01%
December 2013 to January 2014: -7.71%

Again, a drop-off from December is very much the norm for the Direct Market.

If we look at just comic-book sales, excepting collected editions, we can see further back. Here's the estimated change within the Top 300 comics dollar sales from December to January from 1997 to present:

December 1996 to January 1997: -15.3%
December 1997 to January 1998: -27.7%
December 1998 to January 1999: -15.2%
December 1999 to January 2000: -18.5%
December 2000 to January 2001: -8.9%
December 2001 to January 2002: -3.6%
December 2002 to January 2003: -4.8%
December 2003 to January 2004: -19.9%
December 2004 to January 2005: -26.7%
December 2005 to January 2006: -17.0%
December 2006 to January 2007: -4.8%
December 2007 to January 2008: -7.0%
December 2008 to January 2009: -24.36%
December 2009 to January 2010: -13.96%
December 2010 to January 2011: -22.68%
December 2011 to January 2012: -6.73%
December 2012 to January 2013: -3.44%
December 2013 to January 2013 (all comics): -5.87%

So the dropoff really does seem to reflect the 8% fewer new comics on the market in January versus December.

The full report for January should be along next week.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

1 comments:

Fury Phoenix February 7, 2014 at 3:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.

Post a Comment

Recent Comments

Faraway Looks: The Blog of John Jackson Miller

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP