New Market Scale Estimation for Otaku: Population of 1.72 Million
with Market Scale of ¥411 Billion
— NRI classifies 5 types of otaku group, proposing a "New 3Cs" marketing frame —
October 6, 2005
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI: Tokyo; Akihisa Fujinuma, President, CEO & COO) conducted a survey on the actual conditions and business value of the domestic enthusiast consumer group (known as otaku) in 12 major fields, including animation and comics. The survey was based on the responses received from an Internet questionnaire (conducted in August 2004, with a survey sample of 10,003), which was used to analyze the market scale of the otaku group. The survey showed that there are a total of 1.72 million otaku in 12 different fields, and that the combined market scale of the group is approximately ¥411 billion (See Reference below). NRI also proposes the classification of the otaku group into five types, compiled taking into account six factors that affect the unique consumption behavior and psychology of otaku. This will provide a method to create corporate marketing, product development activities and industrial lifecycles, based on these unique behavioral aspects.
Six factors for otaku behavioral principles and five classifications by "otaku image"
The phenomenon of otaku has been debated from a variety of different perspectives. NRI defines otaku as a universal phenomenon in consumer society and has analyzed it as objectively as possible. The analysis showed a new image for otaku, one that is broader and more encompassing than generally considered. Having identified the behavioral and psychological characteristics common to the otaku group that were evident from the above-mentioned questionnaire responses, NRI classifies these into six factors: "desire for common identity," "desire to collect," "desire to stand out," "desire to be independent," "desire to be creative," and "desire to belong." Going forward with analysis based on these factors, the survey revealed that 3.6% of respondents could be classified as otaku, with a further breakdown into five types being possible depending on the balance of the degree of desire shown in the above-mentioned six factors: "Family-oriented otaku" (25% of the total defined as otaku), "Leaving my own mark on the world otaku" (23%), "Media-sensitive multiple-interest otaku" (22%), "Outgoing and assertive otaku" (18%), and "Fan magazine-obsessed otaku" (12%). (Table 1).
Marketing frame for the otaku group: New 3Cs
Members of the otaku group devotes as much money as possible to the particular fields in which they are strongly interested. As such, companies cannot ignore their presence when devising marketing strategies. Although classic corporate marketing frames consider what is known as the "4Ps" (product, promotion, place, price), NRI proposes a new marketing frame based on the unique consumption characteristics of otaku group, referred to below as "New 3Cs." These factors are present in all of the otaku markets in the 12 fields surveyed by NRI, and they can be applied to the creation of a standard marketing strategy as well as one aimed at the otaku market.
Utilizing the otaku group in the industry life cycle
The NRI survey also examined behavior of the otaku group and the impact it has on its surroundings according to each stage of the industry life cycle, identifying the following time frames that could be applied to corporate activities (Table 2).
Given certain restrictions during the introduction stage for products, including product scarcity, high prices and lack of product information, they tend to be used only by limited numbers of the otaku group. The survey results showed that whether or not products that have been used, improved and promoted by the otaku group proceed into the growth period, and further enjoy market expansion depends on their evaluation.
NRI intends to proceed with surveys and analysis on enthusiast consumer group behavior, expanding coverage of the otaku group, with the aim of indicating the group's potential business value. The survey results are to be published on October 13, 2005, by Toyo Keizai Inc., under the title "Otaku shijo no kenkyu (Research on the Otaku Market)." (The book is Japanese only.)
[For general inquiries, please contact:]
Yukako Seto / Takeshi Nomura
Corporate Communications Department
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.
Figure 1: Five types within the otaku group and their proportions (N=363)
Type 1: The family-oriented otaku
This type is the most numerous among otaku. Members are broadly distributed throughout various fields, mainly in mechanical fields such as PC assembly and audio-visual equipment. On the whole this type is relatively more mature and many are married. This type is characterized by relatively low expenditure and time spent on consumer activities related to their hobbies, perhaps because of the strain of household expenditures. This type generally has a stronger tendency than others to be respectful of "harmony with others" although the proportion of members who share their hobbies with family and friends is relatively low, suggesting "closet otaku." The archetype is a "father who is immersed in his hobby and spends his allowance on it in secret, without the knowledge of his family."
Type 2: The "leaving my own mark on the world" otaku
Members of this type have their own solid values and actively collect information and post critical comments on the Internet. Of all the five types, this one has the highest proportion of males. They are concentrated in the mechanical field, including PC assembly, audio-visual equipment, IT gadgets, autos, and cameras, as well as the show business personality field. This type is considered to be the successor to previous "mania" or "collector" groups. The archetype for the "takes it seriously otaku" is the "single male in his 20s and 30s with an interest in mechanical and idol fields."
Type 3: The media-sensitive multiple interest otaku
This type has a strong tendency to have an interest in multiple fields and is very media-oriented. Members are equally distributed by gender and tend to be from the younger generation. Their use of the Internet is high and consumer time spent on hobbies is also high. Members of this type seek interaction with others and reveal their hobby, showing their carefree attitude about their strong interest in their hobbies. This type has a strong tendency to fixate on acquiring information or material goods, and there are many who respond that "I cannot give up my hobby." On the other hand, they tend to consider it more valuable to be sensitive to trends and fads rather than seeking to develop their own values. The archetype is an "Internet roamer who loves net auctions and community sites and is a light user of 2Channel." (2Channel is the most popular BBS in Japan.)
Type 4: The outgoing and assertive otaku
Members of this type have their own values. They actively try to involve other people in their hobbies in an attempt to share the values they develop. Their values are somewhat fixed. They find their way to gain recognition from others only by promoting their hobby. . Males account for 60% of this type and many are in their 30s or 40s. The archetype is "a man in his 30s who experienced a hobby craze in his youth (Gundam, etc.) and who has continued into adulthood still perpetuating, without noticing, values developed through his youthful experiences, while growing up in social aspects."
Type 5: The fan magazine-obsessed otaku
Females account for the overwhelming majority of this type and are mainly in their 20s or 30s (men who are the so-called "Akiba type" or "moe type" also come into this type). Their creative desire is particularly strong and participation in creative activities in fan magazines is high. This type has the highest expenditure on hobbies and tends to engage in them for long periods. The archetype is "a fan magazine-obsessed female who has an obsession with characters in comics or animation and continues her hobby into adulthood, hiding it from her friends."
Figure 2: Industrial lifecycle and the role of otaku
Table 1: Estimate concerning the otaku market scale according to the previous definition (Partially announced in August 24, 2004)
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