K-pop Merchandise a Hundred Million Dollar a Year Industry

The Hundred Million Dollar K-pop Merchandise Industry

The K-pop Industry is a $5 billion dollar industry.  However many do not realize that K-pop merchandise has been on the rise since the start of K-pop.  It doesn’t matter if Korea is going through a down market, K-pop merchandising has grown to become a $100 million dollar industry.

It seems K-pop fans not only in Korea or Asia but all over the world are such loyal fans that they will literally buy anything with their favorite K-pop star on it.  Most might be thinking of merchandise as just posters, clothes, or calendars.  However, K-pop merchandises have grown so much!  Here are some examples.

Interesting K-pop Merchandises

You will find many K-pop items that have NOTHING to do with K-pop.  From K-pop candles to K-pop umbrellas it is really amazing how much selling power these K-pop idols have on their fans.  Most teams that can be branded can be branded with K-pop stars.  There are K-pop lunch boxes, phone cases,  laptop sleeves, silverware, nail polish, and even lotion!

BTS has been leading the way by promoting themselves on social media.  Their products are the most in demand next to EXO, TWICE, and BLACKPINK.  Their products are mainly sold in Asia.  Tourists that come to Korea buy as much K-pop merchandise as they can before going back to China, Singapore, etc.  However more and more K-pop merchandise is being shipped out of Korea which has improved global sales but hurt the travel/tourist industry.

Loyal K-pop Fans

Many K-pop fans buy these items not as collectibles (which it could end up being) or for actual use.  They buy them to support the artist.  More and more news has come out regarding K-pop artists not getting the fair amount of pay.  Those that are getting rich are the K-pop Entertainment companies that manage and promote these K-pop groups.

These die-hard fans create a large enough market for merchandisers to put these K-pop stars on common items like key chains, folders, socks, and etc.  Many feel companies are taking advantage of these K-pop fans and are just exploiting them for profit.  It might be only a matter of time before you have K-pop cola or even K-pop shampoos!

Gaming Companies are Incorporating K-pop

Many gaming companies are incorporating K-pop stars to target the young teen to early twenty generation.  K-pop songs are used as background music for many games and the stars themselves are sometimes used as in the game “Dance Central” which was a popular virtual dance game for Xbox 360.

K-pop Action Figures

These days K-pop is everywhere.  You can find them on instant noodles, portable fans, beauty supplies, and even action figures.  These action figures are not cheap, as they can range from $300-$1,000!
It is estimated that there are over 35 million K-pop fans all across the world.  This is many K-pop entertainment companies like YG Entertainment and SM Entertainment have both online and offline stores in Seoul.   The popularity of K-pop thanks to Korean K-pop companies pumping out new groups every year, the K-pop merchandising craze is not looking to slow down anytime soon.
John Yoon

John Yoon is the Editor in Chief at Startup Radar, Organizer for Startup Festival 2017, Head of Operations Korea at EOS Asia and the Global Marketing Director for Foresting.io. Email = john@startupradar.asia if you are interested in guest contributing and helping the Korean startup ecosystem. Wechat, Kakao, and Line user ID is jswy315

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