Market Research Reports Idol Otaku Annual Expenses at US$700
Yano Research Institute released its 2016 otaku market report on December 7. The report published the results of an online survey about individuals’ annual otaku expenses. According to the report, idol otaku spent 79,783 yen (about US$700) each in the past year, which was the highest yearly fandom expenses reported among the top 20 types of otaku. That number is down about 16% from the previous year, when idol otaku spent 94,738 yen (US$831) each.
Yano Research Institute conducted the survey from August to October, and 9,876 Japanese men and women aged 15 to 69 years participated. Among respondents, 19.1% said they believed they were or otaku or others had identified them as otaku. The survey then asked the 1,884 respondents reported as otaku about their yearly otaku-related expenses. If respondents said they were more than one type of otaku, the survey recorded their expenses for each otaku subgroup separately.
Here are the annual reported expenses for the 20 top-spending otaku groups:
- Idol: 255 respondents; 79,783 yen (US$700) each
- Maid, cosplay-related service: 45 respondents; 37,289 yen (US$327) each
- Anime: 684 respondents; 29,843 yen (US$262) each
- Train model: 77 respondents; 25,891 yen (US$227) each
- Military (toy gun, survival game): 90 respondents; 24,178 yen (US$212) each
- Professional wrestling: 63 respondents; 23,397 yen (US$205) each
- Figure: 172 respondents; 21,799 yen (US$191) each
- Plastic model: 132 respondents; 19,928 yen (US$175) each
- Cosplay clothing: 57 respondents; 18,526 yen (US$185) each
- Dōjinshi: 162 respondents; 17,512 yen (US$154) each
- Doll: 51 respondents; 17,373 yen (US$152) each
- Voice actor: 142 respondents; 16,687 yen (US$146) each
- Online game: 280 respondents; 16,393 yen (US$144) each
- Manga: 774 respondents; 16,370 yen (US$144) each
- AV (adult video, DVD): 87 respondents; 13,471 yen (US$118) each
- Boys love: 85 respondents; 13,153 yen (US$115) each
- Romance game (excluding adult games): 94 respondents; 11,681 yen (US$102) each
- Light novel: 207 respondents; 11,133 yen (US$98) each
- Vocaloid: 78 respondents; 8,950 yen (US$78) each
According to the report, the idol otaku market increased by 30.7% from the previous fiscal year to 155 billion yen (US$1.36 billion). The romance game market increased by 6.6% to 14.6 billion yen (US$128 million), and the boys love market increased by 3.8% to 22 billion yen (US$193 million). The dōjinshi market also increased by 2.4% to 77.5 billion yen (US$680 million).
Some net users responded to report by saying that they think the numbers are a misleading or inaccurate representation of the true otaku market. One commenter said that the anime otaku subgroup would be the highest-spending if it combined the interrelated anime, manga, voice actor, and dōjin subgroups. Another net user said the definition of idol otaku is problematic.
Some people who identify themselves as idol otaku take a disparaging perspective on the idol otaku market and culture. One Twitter user posted a frank, autobiographical webcomic on August 31 that explained his belief that he had become someone “no one would want to be, even if they died.” This mentality may account for part of idol otaku‘s decreased individual spending for the past fiscal year, despite the idol otaku market’s overall increase.
The idol otaku and related otaku markets remain strong in Japan. Many otaku continue to attend idol concerts, and idol culture continues to expand into related markets. MAGES‘ Idol Incidents (Idol Jihen) television anime (pictured above right), which depicts idols standing up to Japanese government corruption, will premiere in Japan on January 8. The anime’s official website lists Crunchyroll as streaming the series in Europe and America.
Yano Research Institute releases a report on the otaku market every year. Among survey respondents, 25.5% reported in 2011 that they were otaku, and that figure had dropped to 23% in 2014.
Japanese advertising firm Dentsu also established a think tank in 2012 dedicated to studying otaku.