Circle Chart Has Released Their 2022 Physical Album Export Data Review — Here Is How K-Pop Album Sales Have Changed Worldwide

Some of these charts are really interesting and unexpected!

Circle Chart, formerly known as Gaon, recently released their 2022 Physical Album Export Data Review. The review includes eight graphs depicting different types of data in physical album sales from 2022 and years past, including which countries account for the most physical Korean album exports last year compared to 2021, combined share of exports for the top countries in terms of album sales, and more interesting information.

The first of the eight graphs shows a comparison of the countries with the most physical Korean album exports in 2022 compared to 2021. The top three countries — Japan, China, and the United States respectively — stayed in the same positions and are overwhelmingly the top buyers of albums, while countries at #4 and below are somewhat consistent but also vary between the two years.

The second chart simply shares the total value — in USD $1,000 — that physical Korean album exports made annually between 2013 and 2022. In 2022, the total was $231,389,000, a 4.8% increase from 2021.

The third graph shows how the top three countries with the most Korean albums exported — Japan, China, and the U.S. — have contributed to the total percentage of exported albums each year from 2012 to 2022. In 2022, Japan contributed 36%, China contributed 22%, and the U.S. contributed 17%. Interestingly, while Japan and China have overall decreased in their shares percentage compared to past years, the U.S. has gradually but steadily increased.

The fourth graph shows the total percentage of Korean album exports that the top three countries have contributed in total each year since 2019. 2019 was the first year that the three countries hit the 70% range, after the U.S. first hit the double digits in percentage of album exports.

The fifth graph shows a comparison between the top three countries in Korean album exports each month in 2022. Japan is shown to overwhelmingly account for the most album exports each month except for September, and skyrocketed in May likely due to the artists with releases at the time such as SEVENTEENTXT, and LE SSERAFIM.

Note: Unit should be USD $1,000, not %

The sixth graph once again compares the top three countries with the most Korean albums exported to them each year since 2012, this time measured in USD $1,000 rather than percentage. The only year that the U.S. surpassed China was in 2020, likely related to BTS‘s Map of the Soul: 7 release.

Note: Unit should be USD $1,000, not %

The seventh chart compares the top four European countries that have contributed to the most Korean album exports — the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (listed as England in the chart), France, and Germany. Sales in all four countries drastically rose between 2015 and 2018, with the U.K and Germany’s total exports going up between 2021 and 2022 while the Netherlands and France decreased.

Note: Unit should be USD $1,000, not %

Finally, the eighth chart shows similar data to the last two, except for the top five Asian countries with the most Korean album exports — Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Nearly all of these countries saw a decrease in Korean album exports between 2021 and 2022, except for Vietnam, where it rose slightly.

Note: Unit should be USD $1,000, not %

It’s fascinating to see how Korean and K-Pop album sales change worldwide each year, showing that the music genre is still growing in popularity in many places, while in others there seems to be a bit of a lull. We’ll have to wait and see how the trends continue in 2023 and beyond!

Source: Circle Chart and Reddit