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The Comics Are All Right: Is the Economic Index an Indicator for Comics?

Diamond Comic Distributor‘s Decembers numbers have been recently released so I’m diving in crunching numbers over the last year to see if there’s any upsides to a down year (the answer is, yes). While final numbers for the year won’t be released until later this year, we can do some initial looks and see what stands out.

2017 ended seven years of gains when it comes to comics released through Diamond with an estimated $522.2 million in comics, trades, magazines, and more sold through them. That number is still higher than 2013’s $517.7 million the middle of the boom.

One thing I remember when running my own store was that geek shops do better in down economies. So, I decided to put that to the test by comparing monthly units shipped with the Gallup Economic Confidence Index. For those unfamiliar:

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is based on the combined responses to two questions, the first asking Americans to rate economic conditions in this country today, and second, whether they think economic conditions in the country as a whole are getting better or getting worse. Monthly results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 15,000 national adults; margin of error is ±1 percentage point.

And below is the results for the last three years (and I plan on going further back).

While it 2017 and to some extent 2016 matches well up to the belief, 2015 throws it into question. We can probably say though that there’s something there and it merits further research. It does seem that the comic industry did better when confidence was low overall for the last three years and as confidence increased in 2017, the comic industry decreased.

Now, to see if this holds up going back to 2008….