Anime popularity is snowballing. International sales have surpassed Japan’s for the first time in history.
But how many people watch anime today?
Some estimates say more than a third of the world population, or 2.88 billion people watch anime.
We look into more data on its popularity, anime industry, growth, demographics, and more below.
Key Anime Statistics (Top Picks)
- 36% (or 2.88 billion) of viewers worldwide enjoyed watching anime in 2021.
- Over 100 million households globally had watched at least 1 anime title on Netflix in 2020.
- Anime is the 3rd most in-demand subgenre worldwide with a 5.5% demand share.
- Around 30% of American adults have a favorable impression of anime.
- Around 33% of the Japanese said they often watch anime or read manga.
- Almost 90% of young Japanese said they watch anime.
- Detective Conan is the most popular anime of all time.
- The anime industry reached 2.4 trillion yen ($22.5 billion) in 2020.
- The Japanese Media Arts Database has over 136,700 different titles under the animation category in 2022.
How many people watch anime?
Over 100 million homes worldwide had watched at least 1 anime title on Netflix in 2020.
This was an increase of 50% from the previous year. The demand for Japanese anime is growing each year as other countries apart from Japan discover the genre.
More on how many people watch anime down below.
Anime is the 3rd most in-demand subgenre worldwide with a 5.5% demand share.
- It’s only surpassed by the even more popular crime drama (8.4% demand) and sitcom (6.2% demand) subgenres.
- Romantic drama, school children subgenre, and comedy drama follow with 3.6%, 3.6%, and 3.5% demand, respectively.
|Top subgenres globally||Share of demand|
What percentage of the world watches anime?
36% of viewers worldwide enjoyed watching anime in 2021, according to Ampere Consumer data.
- This was a 50% increase from 2018 when 24% of viewers enjoyed anime.
- Assuming an 8 billion world population, that means 2.88 billion people watch anime
How popular is anime in America?
Around 30% of American adults have a favorable impression of anime.
Here’s the data from the Morning Consult poll:
|US Adult impression of anime||% (number)|
|Heard of, no|
|Never heard of||11% (242)|
How popular is anime in Japan?
Anime in Japan is a bit more popular according to a 2021 survey:
According to a Nippon Research Center survey, around 33% of the Japanese said they often watch anime or read manga.
This is not much higher than in the US, but the question was worded slightly differently. The American survey asked for the opinion on anime, while the Japanese survey asked if you often watch anime.
On the other hand, anime seems popular among a younger audience.
89.6% of high school students and 88.5% of university students said they watch anime.
Is anime more popular in Japan or America?
Anime is far more popular in Japan, but the United States is the biggest international market, far bigger than the second Philippines.
(Parrot Analytics 2)
|Countries outside Japan||Anime demand per 100 capita|
More people say they watch anime in Japan at 75.87% compared to America’s 71.86%.
What percentage of Gen Z watches anime?
Over 50% of Generation Z watches anime in the US.
According to the Morning Consult poll, 52% of Gen Z-ers have a very favorable or somewhat favorable impression of anime.
Here’s what Gen Z thinks about Japanese anime:
|Gen Z’s impression of anime||%|
|Heard of, no|
|Never heard of||1%|
Anime popularity by country
Top 50 countries by anime popularity:
- Hong Kong
- United States
- Costa Rica
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- Saudi Arabia
(source: Analysis of Google Trends data on all major anime keywords)
Anime demographics: Who watches the most anime?
35% of males like anime compared to 27% of females, according to a US survey.
The gender differences can also be seen in the percentage of those who said they’ve never heard of Japanese anime.
14% of females said they had never heard of anime, while 8% of males said the same.
Here are more anime demographics by politics, education, ethnicity, and income (MorningConsult).
Opinion of anime by politics:
|Ideology||Favorable||Unfavorable||Never heard of|
Liberals enjoy anime more than conservatives, and they’re also more knowledgeable about it.
Opinion of anime by education:
|Education||Favorable||Unfavorable||Never heard of|
Opinion of anime by ethnicity:
|Ethnicity||Favorable||Unfavorable||Never heard of|
Opinion of anime by income:
|Income||Favorable||Unfavorable||Never heard of|
What age group watches anime?
What age groups and what generations like anime the most?
|Never heard of|
|Generation||Favorable||Unfavorable||Never heard of|
Younger generations favor the genre a lot more as seen in the table above.
What is the most popular anime of all time (Top 5)?
According to a 2021 Japan survey, these are the most popular, well-known anime:
The titles above were known by over 70% of asked respondents meaning they have the widest popularity. We can assume they’re also the most watched anime.
What was the most popular anime in 2021?
Demon Slayer was the most popular and most successful anime in 2021. It grossed $232 million in 1 year through video streaming, box-office, manga, and other means.
- Demon Slayer: Mugen Train (Kimetsu no Yaiba The Movie) is the highest-grossing anime movie of all time.
What was the most popular anime in 2020?
Considering the top 10 rankings on Netflix Japan for 2020, A Whisker Away is the most popular Japanese anime in 2020.
(Netflix Top 10)
How many anime are there in the world?
There’s no exact number, but the Japanese Media Arts Database has over 136,700 different titles under the animation category in 2022.
New titles are produced yearly, so this number is growing by at least a couple thousand each year.
The government of Japan’s database is run by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. It’s kept up to date by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, so it’s a solid source.
How much is the anime industry worth?
According to AJA reports, the anime industry reached 2.4 trillion yen ($22.5 billion) in 2020.
(The Association of Japanese Animations)
That’s 96.5% of the previous year, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In 2020 the industry released only 66 anime movies, the lowest number since 2013.
- The number of minutes dropped from 7,328 minutes to 4,837 minutes, a 34% drop. A big reason was that many releases were postponed due to the 2020 COVID-10 pandemic.
AJA stands for The Association of Japanese Animations consisting of 52 Japanese animation production companies.
- PrecedenceResearch estimates the global anime market size will hit US$48.3 billion by 2030.
Here’s the data on how much money anime makes. Size of the Japanese anime industry from 2010 onward:
|Year||Yen (JPY)||US Dollar (USD)|
|2020||¥2.43 trillion||$22.5 billion|
|2019||¥2.51 trillion||$23 billion|
|2018||¥2.18 trillion||$19.7 billion|
|2017||¥2.14 trillion||$18.7 billion|
|2016||¥1.99 trillion||$18.3 billion|
|2015||¥1.83 trillion||$15.1 billion|
|2014||¥1.64 trillion||$15.5 billion|
|2013||¥1.48 trillion||$15.1 billion|
|2012||¥1.34 trillion||$17.8 billion|
|2011||¥1.34 trillion||$16.8 billion|
|2010||¥1.32 trillion||$15 billion|
The estimates for 2022 claim the anime industry is worth from $24.8 billion to $26.9 billion. But the exact numbers will be known later.
P.S. This is data from the latest reports as of June 2022, we’ll update the stats as soon as new ones come out.
Anime industry growth
The anime industry grew at an average rate of 6.43% per year for the last 10 years. It’s expected to grow at an annual rate of 9.7% CAGR.
- PrecedenceResearch estimates the global anime market growth rate at 7.9% CAGR until 2030.
In 2020 it shrank by 3.2%. The decrease from 2.51 trillion yen to 2.43 trillion yen was the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The industry is expected to recover and continue its average growth of the past few years.
Here’s the tabled data on the anime industry growth rate per year:
|Year||Global anime market growth rate|
Anime market has been growing steadily with the exception of the 2020 pandemic year.
How big is the anime industry in Japan?
The Japanese anime industry created approximately 1.19 trillion yen, which is 49% or almost half of the total revenue.
(The Association of Japanese Animations)
Overseas (the rest of the world) created 1.24 trillion yen in 2020, which is more than in Japan for the first time.
Japanese anime is quickly rising popularity worldwide, contributing to the recent record overseas sales.
Which anime segments bring in the most revenue?
|Pachinko and the like||11%|
You would assume internet distribution would bring in more revenue, but it contributes less than 4% in Japan. Unfortunately, we don’t know how the segments are divided in the “overseas” category.
What is the biggest anime company?
Toei Animation is the biggest anime company according to over 700 different anime titles to their name.
There are many big anime production companies like: Madhouse, Ghibly Studios, Sunrise, Aniplex, NHK just to name a few.
Manga industry statistics
- 24.4 million Manga units were sold in the US in 2021. There was an increase of 15 million or 160% from the previous year when 9.4 million units were sold.
- The Manga comics sales in Japan in 2021 were 676 billion yen. That’s up 9.3% from the previous year and the 4th consecutive growth year.
Manga comics are an essential part of anime as most of the animation is based on their stories.
Manga is mostly read by young men.
Manga readers’ gender: 90% male, 10% female.
Manga readers by age group:
Here’s a table of manga readers by age group:
|25 years old or older||27.4%|
|19-24 years old||25.8%|
|16-18 years old||17.6%|
|13-15 years old||16.4%|
|10-12 years old||9.6%|
|9 years old or younger||3.2%|
How many subscribers does Funimation have?
Funimation was estimated to have over 3 million subscribers before the merger with Crunchyroll.
The numbers were an estimate. The exact numbers were unknown as Funimation didn’t disclose their numbers.
How many subscribers does Crunchyroll have?
Crunchyroll has over 5 million paid subscribers and 120 million registered users.
Growth of Crunchyroll subscribers:
- They stream over 1000 different titles in over 30,000 episodes as of August 2021.
- Their database and subscribers are constantly growing bigger.
- Sony bought Crunchyroll from AT&T and WarnerMedia for US$1.175 billion in 2021.
Here’s a table of Crunchyroll subscribers per year:
|2015||0.75 million (750k)|
|2014||0.4 million (400k)|
|2013||0.2 million (200k)|
|2012||0.1 million (100k)|
Anime Facts & Trivia
- About 60% of all anime is made in Japan.
- A Guinness World Record: The longest broadcasting animation in the world, “Sazae-san,” has over 7,000 episodes from 1969, when it started.
- Another Guinness World Record anime series with the most number of characters is “Anpanman,” with 1,768 different characters in 980 episodes.
- The first for-profit animation in Japan was made in 1917.
- The animation industry has more than 430 production studios. The biggest among them are Studio Ghibli, Production IG, and Toei Animation.
These were the latest anime market statistics. We’re waiting on future reports that will give us more data on anime market size for the future years.
What do you think about anime?
Do you expect the animation industry to flourish in international markets?
Let us know in the comments below.