articleK-Pop

Why are the album sales of Kpop girl groups growing so fast?

Kpop boy groups once dominated physical album sales, but now, Kpop girl groups are growing just as fast. 

Within the past 10 years, the album sales of Kpop girl groups have never exceeded 20% of the total physical sales.

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Even in 2021, when the growth rate of Korean album sales reached more than 40% compared to the previous year (with the absence of BLACKPINK as a whole), girl group album sales stagnated (7.06 million copies in 2020 vs 7 million copies in 2021), and the proportion of sales from  girl groups fell to 12%.

However, from January to September 2022, the proportion of girl group album sales soared to 27%. During this period, girl group album sales reached 15.4 million copies, exceeding the combined sales of 2020-2021 within nine months.

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BLACKPINK was the first and only girl group to sell 1 million physical copies for one album in 2020. Meanwhile, within 2022 alone, four new groups (aespa, IVE, TWICE, ITZY) were added and are now chasing after BLACKPINK, which has since risen to almost 2 million copies.

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The reason behind this unprecedented high growth of girl group album sales in 2022 lies in the expansion of the Kpop consumer base, which is confirmed via the sales of debut albums (2015-2019 debut girl group sales of 120,000 copies on average vs 2020-2022 debut girl group sales of 420,000 copies on average). There is also an increase in the ratio of female buyers for girl group albums, from 32-56% in the 3rd generation to 65-78% in the 4th generation of Kpop, according to demographics of commercial platform Aladdin.

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Based on this, at least in Korea, 4th generation girl groups are selling to a much larger female fandom than the 3rd generation, so it can be said this is a reason behind their high album performance.

It is also believed that the securing of popularity through streaming played a role in the reason that women, the major consumers of the music market, began to consume new girl group albums in earnest this year.

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Unlike the rookie boy groups that did not even enter the top of the domestic annual streaming chart, rookie girl groups such as aespa in 2021, as well as IVE and NewJeans in 2022, have dominated the streaming charts right after their debut.

While boy groups that have surpassed one million physical sales target the global fandom, girl groups successfully produce hit songs within Korea, and enjoy the expansion of their new fandoms through domestic streaming over the past 2 years.

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A group that succeeds in expanding a new fandom based on popularity, the most basic (and perhaps most difficult) formula for success in the idol industry, is bound to continue enjoying high growth. Therefore, rookie girl groups that are expanding their fan bases based on domestic popularity are likely to show the possibility of monetization with intensity comparable to boy groups in the future.

Their future moves in the Kpop industry are thus highly anticipated. 

Source: yeongnam

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