It’s time to put on my business geek hat and dissect Diamond’s recently released market shares and sales charts for March 2010. Now, the data is amassed, by Diamond, from over 3,5000 accounts representing both physical comic book and specialty retailers but also internet comic and specialty retailers. While there is some data pooled from international sources, the majority of the data comes from North American sources, giving us a pretty good idea of the landscape of the industry for the United States and Canada.
Based on total unit sales of products invoiced (includes reorders, preorders, and advanced reorders) the industry kind of looks like this – as of March 2010 (I’ve included the ranking in parentheses next to the percentage):
|Unit Market Share:||Dollar Market Share:|
|Marvel Comics||47.12% (1)||41.94% (1)|
|DC Comics||29.92% (2)||27.25% (2)|
|IDW Publishing||3.61% (3)||4.02% (4)|
|Dark Horse Comics||3.33% (4)||4.76% (3)|
|Dynamite Entertainment||3.08% (5)||3.40% (5)|
|Image Comics||3.01% (6)||3.22% (6)|
|Boom! Studios||1.84% (7)||1.98% (7)|
|Zenescope Entertainment||0.93% (8)||0.90% (10)|
|Archie Comics||0.81% (9)||0.67% (11)|
|Viz Media||0.71% (10)||1.48% (8)|
|Tokyopop||0.59% (11)||0.56% (12)|
|Avatar Press||0.42% (12)||0.56% (12)|
|Aspen MLT||0.40% (13)||0.26% (17)|
|Wizard Entertainment||0.37% (14)||0.46% (15)|
|Eaglemoss Publications LTD.||0.27% (15)||0.99% (9)|
|Random House||0.25% (16)||0.57% (14)|
|Bongo Comics||0.22% (17)||0.21% (19)|
|Devil’s Due Publishing||0.19% (18)||0.25% (18)|
|Bluewater Productions||0.18% (19)||0.19% (20)|
|Oni Press, Inc.||0.16% (20)||0.33% (16)|
|Other Non-Top 20||2.59%||6.01%|
It’s no surprise that Marvel and DC are the two biggest players in terms of dollars and market share. However, with Marvel controlling 47.12% of the market share, it leaves DC Comics struggling with other publishers to control the remaining 52.78%. I was honestly surprised that there was such a large discrepancy in terms of market share between Marvel and DC Comics. I had never really looked at the market data before and thought that Marvel and DC Comics were on rather even footing in terms of the market. When you crunch the numbers, Marvel has 1.57 times the market share that DC does. Looking at dollars, Marvel controls 1.539 times the share that DC does.
Rounding out the top five (in both dollars and market share) are IDW (third in market, fourth in dollars), Dark Horse (fourth in market, third in dollars), and Dynamite. Following Dynamite closely (0.07%) in terms of market share is Image, though Dynamite is 0.18% over Image in terms of dollars.
I wonder how this is going to change now that Marvel’s TPB/graphic novel sales outside of the direct market are doing to be handled by Hatchette (DC’s TPB/graphic novel sales outside of the direct market are currently handled by Random House). I predict that the move will probably make Marvel and DC Comics more equal in terms of market and dollar share. The question is: will DC simply absorb the discrepancy, or will other companies swoop in and sweep it out from under them?
Shelley Smarz is a life-time comic book fan and a comic book scholar. She’s currently finishing her MBA at Ryerson University in Toronto, ON. She’s excited that she can add “business geek” to her geek répertoire.