Sales of comics and graphic novels in the comic store channel were down 8% in 2023, with graphic novel sales down more than periodical comics, according to an ICv2 analysis of sales tracked at point-of-sale by the ComicHub system at stores selling American comics around the world.

Periodical comic sales were down 5.8%, and graphic novel sales were down 11.9% in the channel, the data showed.

The moves are largely a result of the continued unwinding of trends driven by the Covid pandemic in 2021 and 2022, as consumers returned to a more normal mix of at-home and out-of-home activities and the collectibles fever broke.  Sales of comics and graphic novels likely crested in the first half of 2022, we reported last year (see "Covid Surge Crested in 2022").

Sales in comic stores remain well above where they were in 2019, before the Covid pandemic.  New comic sales in comic stores were up 18% in 2023 compared to sales in 2019; graphic novel sales were up 49%, and overall sales were up 29%.  As has been the trend for some time, comic sales are not keeping pace with inflation, and graphic novels are driving the actual growth (see "ICv2 Insider Talks: Direct Market Trends").

During the period for which these reports were generated, there were over 125 stores using the ComicHub system.  As this is a small, non-random sample of over 3,000 stores selling American comics worldwide, the change in sales may not be typical of all stores, but the ComicHub clients do represent a variety of locations and store emphases.

For an in-depth analysis of the reasons behind these trends, based on interviews with comic retailers, including some of the largest in the country, see "Comic Publishers Killing Momentum."