Comic strip market in France in 2020: a record year

In 2020, the year of the Covid, the comic book market was established, according to GfK, at 53.1 million copies sold, an increase of + 9%, for a turnover of 591 million euros, i.e. + 6%.

Is it a Covid effect? Yes and no. No, because the increase in sales of comics has been constant since 2016 and it represents one in five books purchased in France (18% of the market by volume) taking 3rd place in the book market after literature and young people.

Yes, because the lack of consumption of other cultural goods (cinema, theater, travel, etc.) has transferred the need to escape to bookstores. And comics, with their colorful images and dreamy themes, offered the necessary compensation, at relatively cheap rates.

And, the thing is expressed even more remarkably in the United States, manga carves out the lion’s share (they represent 42% of sales in volume this year, with a growth of + 18%) because of their strong presence on the platforms as demonstrated by the success of Naruto (Ed. Kana) who found the figures of his best years, as we explained to you a few days ago. The series also places two titles in the first two places in the Top 10 sales of the year, while One Piece in place three and Dragon Ball (both at Glénat). The only new features in the list: Demon Slyer at Panini (in 3rd place, ahead of One Piece) and My Hero Academia at Ki-Oon, which shows that even at the level of manga readers, in times of uncertainty, we take refuge in safe values.

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Classics reassure

Same impression on the Franco-Belgian side. Among the obvious successes of the year, The Lucky Luke very opportune to Jul and Achdé (Lucky Productions), Arab of the future of Riad Sattouf (Allary Editions) in the highly anticipated T.5, as well as the Blake et Mortimer of Jean Dufaux, Christian Cailleaux and Étienne Schréder, do more than perform well, placing both in the Top 10 sales of the year.

On the comic book side, the Hollywood blockbusters shining through their absence in theaters in 2020, one would have thought that, as in the United States, demand would weaken. Never mind: with 6% of the market, this segment is still growing by + 6%.

Finally, it is interesting to look at the insolent health of youth comics, one of the most promising segments of this year. The release of a new Asterix at the end of 2019 again generated sales in 2020 and, with a “pseudo-novelty” in 2020 (Le Menhir d’or), the Gaul continues to pull the sector, one in four comics coming out of this promising market segment since the comic book consumer, in 2020, is mostly under 30 (65% of purchases). We will also notice the massive presence of the phenomenon Mortal Adele of Mr tan (Ed. Tourbillon) which places four titles in the Top 10 of the best youth sales of the year.

The insolent health of youth comics
Photos: D. Pasamonik (L’Agence BD)

In terms of temporality, the diagram below shows that buyers took advantage of the deconfinement to supply their library. What is remarkable is that the choices did not only relate to the novelties: the buyers took the opportunity to complete their collection: between + 47% and + 49% increase on funds in deconfined periods.

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In short, the French have been able to ride the wave, fleeing the Galactus of the pandemic.

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