Market Data

LINE Manga Joins the Elite $2 Billion Club for Mobile Consumer Spend

Randy Nelson

The popular manga reader is LINE’s second app to reach this impressive milestone.

Three years after breaking the $1 billion mark for global consumer spend, LINE Manga added its second billion, becoming just the 15th app (excluding games) to reach this milestone. All the more impressive, it was LINE’s second app to reach the $2 billion club, joining its flagship and self-titled communication app LINE. The only other company with multiple $2 billion apps is Google (with YouTube and Google One).

LINE Manga is the second manga/webtoon app to hit $2 billion in global consumer spend, reaching the milestone slightly more than a year after piccoma. Who will be next? Naver Webtoons is the next closest at just over $700 million. However, don’t be surprised if some other apps make huge gains in the coming year. The manga/webtoon/comics subgenre has seen rapid growth in recent years – combining for more than $2.2 billion in consumer spending across iOS and Google Play in 2023, nearly five times the total from just five years earlier in 2018.

Japan Is Still the Primary Market for Comics – Yet South Korea Is on the Rise

Similar to piccoma, nearly all of LINE Manga’s consumer spending comes from Japan. In fact, nearly three-quarters of all consumer spend in manga/webtoon/comics apps to date has come from Japan. Naver Webtoons is a notable exception, deriving most of its revenue from the United States and South Korea.

While Japan still remains the key market, with 72% of consumer spend in manga/webtoon/comics apps in 2023, this share has fallen slightly in recent years from nearly 77% in 2021. South Korea has been the fastest-rising market with rapid growth from apps like Naver Webtoons and KakaoPage. The country had $287 million in consumer spend in 2023, or roughly 13% of the market, up from just $82 million in 2021 (4% of the global total).

 

Despite the increasing competition from South Korea, the space remains highly concentrated – the United States and China were the only other markets that contributed more than 1% of the global total in 2023. Still, the huge success of new players in South Korea suggests that apps with the right content may still be able to break through in other markets where comics apps are not very popular yet. And as apps like LINE Manga show, the potential for these apps is in the billions of dollars.

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February 23, 2024

Market Data

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