The result isn’t surprising in a year when both of the Big Two comic publishers attempted line-wide relaunches, with one (Marvel) blowing the release schedule of its biggest event in recent history (see “Marvel Delays Hit Collections, ‘Secret Wars’), and the other (DC) releasing both an interstitial storyline and relaunches of its line to weak response (see “DC’s Post-Convergence #1’s Post Lackluster Debuts”).
Reflecting a split view on the consumer market (although weighted heavily toward the positive), just under 20% of responding comic retailers said that consumers/fans gave them the most concern. Next biggest, the “other” category included about 8% of retailers who said that some form of online competition, including digital, was their biggest cause of concern. Distributors/wholesalers was fourth, with around 15% of comic retailers saying that was the part of the business that caused them the most concern about the future.Comics Turn Around in November”), comic retailers were largely positive about sales in 2015, with around 35% reporting sales up 1-10% and half that many, around 17%, reporting sales increases north of 10%. Around 20% of comic stores were flat, with a significant minority, over a quarter, down.
Survey respondents were recruited via multiple channels (ICv2 email, editorial, and advertising) during November 2016. To qualify for this sub-group, respondents had to self-identify as retailers and describe comics as their primary business (biggest category in dollars). Given that the sample is self-selected and relatively small relative to the size of the population, it may differ significantly from the actual situation for comic retailers as a whole.
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