¥290 Billion Market for Enthusiast Consumer Group
in Five Main Fields Including Animation and Comics
—Market scale estimation and survey on actual conditions of the "otaku group"—
August 24, 2004
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI: Tokyo; Akihisa Fujinuma, President, CEO & COO) conducted a survey on the market scale and actual conditions of the Japanese enthusiast (known as "otaku") consumer group that shows unique consumption behavior in five major fields (animation, comics, games, idols, PC assembly). The survey showed that consumer spending in this group for these five fields has reached approximately ¥290 billion. The market scale for the overall industry in the four fields related to content (animation, idols, comics, games) is approximately ¥2.3 trillion; of which the share of enthusiast consumers stood at 11% in terms of monetary amount. The enthusiast consumer group's impact on the market as a whole and its scale of consumption are such that this group can no longer be regarded as a niche.
(Note 1) Arcade games refer to games provided in game centers, including board games and card games.
It also became evident that enthusiast consumers have a high Internet usage rate, strong information dissemination capabilities, and a strong social impact, and that they form sub-groups that extend across more than one related field. They pursue their ideals by repeating "consumption patterns that preferentially allocate money and time, based on their own distinctive values," and "redevelopment of a world view based on their own interpretation and secondary creative activities." In other words, the enthusiast consumer group not only exhibits a high level of consumer appetite, but also has considerable value as a community-forming nucleus, as a venue for next generation technology innovation and as an experimental target for new products: it forms a population segment with significant potential, from the industrial perspective, as a determining factor in future marketing of new products. NRI intends to proceed with enthusiast consumer group behavior survey and analysis expanding into other fields such as automobiles, AV equipment and travel, with the aim of indicating the group's potential business values.
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Yukako Seto/Takeshi Nomura
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Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
[Reference] Definitions and Characteristics of the Enthusiast Consumer Group for Each Field
A group with people who love animation, who daily watch TV animation, OVA (original video animation) and animated movies. Many in this group record TV animation programs more than 10 times a week. They actively use PCs and HDD recorders: their IT literacy is relatively high. The group consists mainly of males in the age group between 15 and the 40s. It comprises approximately 13% of the total market (assuming animation DVD market). The overlap rate is high with comic enthusiasts and game enthusiasts as they share content. Furthermore, there is strong correlation with PC enthusiasts in terms of animation recording and PC games.
People in this group have strong admiration for and sympathy with specific artists and entertainers, and place a high priority on collecting information about those artists and supporting them. The group consists mainly of separate male and female sub-groups, with ages ranging from the teens to the 30s. The group can be divided into two main types of people: the "on-the-spot" type (those wanting to share space and time with their idols), who, because of the considerable time burden, are mostly young people in their teens and 20s, and the "collector" type, who, due to the financial costs, are mainly in their 20s and 30s. There is also a certain crossover between the two types.
People in this group collect fanzines, participate in spot sales, or contribute to such fanzines. This group has a broad age spread, ranging from the teens to the 40s, but can be subdivided into specific, smaller sub-sections, such as boys series, girls series and adult series. The activities of members of this group focus on characters from comics, and their expression takes various forms. Deriving from their activities are costume plays and fan novels. The members of this group overlap significantly with animation enthusiasts and game enthusiasts. One unique feature of this group is that parodies developed in fanzines are now half-recognized by the publishing industry as grounds for generation of professional comic artists.
People in this group are mainly aged between 13 and 24, but some are in their 30s. They spend much of their lives engrossed in games. The home game market is the largest single sector in this field, but the market is stagnant with the oligopoly of the market by big titles and little new genre creation. The core members of this group are aging and there is a trend for members to move on to net games and PC games where new games are appearing. Information exchange between people in this group and manufacturers is quite active and the former often also participate in the enhancement and improvement of games.
PC assembly enthusiasts
People in this group often ignore the original uses of PCs, such as the creation of documents, and see the actual act of assembling PCs as an objective in itself. They are mostly male who spend most of their leisure time and disposable income on assembling PCs. The group, however, can be sub-divided into "rich PC assembly enthusiasts" and "junk PC assembly enthusiasts." Rich PC assembly enthusiasts comprise mainly of those aged from 18 to the 30s. Members of this sub-group buy new products at shelf prices from PC parts shops in Tokyo's Akihabara electrics and electronics retail district. Since geographical proximity is required, a relatively large number of members of this sub-group live in suburban Tokyo. Once the parts have been installed and the PC completed, they almost always sell it within a week to a secondhand products shop, and then immediately start a search for their next parts. Parts that became popular in the rich enthusiast market tend, within one to two years, to be incorporated in mass-market PCs; thus, to PC manufacturers, this group is regarded as a voluntary, continuous test market. Junk PC assembly enthusiasts comprise mainly of people between 15 and 18 (the minority) and those in their 40s (the majority). Members of this sub-group search for inventory clearance parts at super low prices and used parts in the back streets of Tokyo's Akihabara electrics and electronics retail district. And as geographical proximity is required, they, too, tend to live in suburban Tokyo. However, since their main activity is to repeatedly add minimum functions to low spec PCs, the value of parts they consume is low, and their consumption cycle is long.
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