We always have an eye open for anime news. So imagine our delight on running across a Bloomberg article explaining that U.S. interest in anime is skyrocketing. Better yet, American consumers are also showing interest in the Japanese live action program. Some say it's the result of COVID restrictions keeping us at home. COVID or no COVID, interest in Japanese art and culture is growing.
Data from the Bloomberg report shows that interest in anime programming was up some 33% in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year. Interest in Japanese live action programming doubled. That is pretty impressive.
Experts suggest that many of those newly following live action programming are already familiar with Japanese culture through anime. They may be the same people who keep Umai going by purchasing our anime clothing, phone cases, posters, etc.
Most Popular Foreign Programming
The fact that Japanese programming is so popular is great news in and of itself. But it gets even better. Last year, anime and live action programming from Japan was more popular than any other foreign programming.
Japanese content made up just over 30% of the demand for foreign programming. Spanish programming came in second at 21%, followed by Korean (11.1%) and Hindi (8.6%). The remaining 28.9% was distributed across all the remaining foreign formats U.S. consumers accessed.
Wrapping all of this up is data suggesting that streaming providers are competing aggressively in the anime space. Bloomberg reported that Sony is trying to buy Crunchyroll from AT&T. Meanwhile, Netflix is introducing a slew of new anime programs in an open competition against rivals Apple and Disney+.
Good News for Us
We are thrilled about the rise in anime's popularity. You should be too. Regardless of who produces the content and how it's accessed, more people getting on board the anime train means more influence and awareness. The more people turned on to anime and manga, the better it is for all of us.
We're betting on increased sales to coincide with the growing interest in all things anime. We are expecting to sell a lot more anime T-shirts and hoodies. We are anticipating higher demand for phone cases, posters, and just about everything else. And who knows? We might have to start looking at expanding our inventory in order to give customers what they want.
As for you, you're already in on the ground floor of something that could be a lot bigger than it currently is. Think about it. There are probably other anime and manga lovers in your close circle of friends. But beyond that circle, how many people do you know who appreciate the art form?
Despite its impressive growth, anime is still appreciated by only a small minority of the general public. Yet the tide might be turning. In that respect, being stuck at home for the last year or so may turn out to be one of the best things to happen to the anime world. It has given more people greater opportunities to be exposed to comics, streaming series, artwork, and so on.
Everyone Is Different
What brought you into the anime fold? Did you see something online or through your streaming provider? Did a friend pass on a comic? Everyone is different in how they started their journey. For a lot of people, that journey began last year by way of content directly from Japan. Be it anime or live action programming, a lot of people began watching for the first time in 2020. That is good no matter how you slice it.