The K-culture, Hallyu Wave, has blown across the globe much more vigorously this year. Many K-dramas such as 'Squid Game' swept up the world by its feet and the Hallyu Wave continues to spread across the globe.
This influence also took effect on the K-pop market. Although K-Pop has gained steady popularity over the years, 2021 might have been the year with the most success than ever.
Gaon Chart released their album sales review for 2021, showing the increase in the sales of the physical copies of albums released by K-pop artists. There has been a profound change in album sales over the years, including the demographics of the consumers.
The above graph reveals the number of cumulative album sales from 2013 to 2021. The data is collected from the top 400 albums that were sold each year. For 2021, the data collection is from the first 50 weeks of the year. This year, there was a 31% increase in album sales compared to 2020. The top 400 albums collectively sold 54,594,222 albums. As you can see, album sales have exploded over this time period.
The above graph shows the sales of the physical album copies that were exported to other countries. The data was collected from Korea Customs Service. According to the data from Korea Customs Service, there was a nearly 50% increase in export sales compared to last year (from January to November). 2021 had export sales of 220,000,000 USD compared to 120,000,000 USD in 2020.
In 2020, 47% of all exported albums from Korea were to Japan, but that decreased by 12% to just 35% in 2021. Although Japan has a smaller share of the exported albums, you saw increases in other countries. In 2021, 17% of all exported albums from Korea were to the United States, an increase of 2% over 2020. Additionally, China accounted for 20% of all exported albums from Korea, an increase of 8% over 2020.
Gaon Chart also released the album sales according to groups and revealed the top 15 artists that sold the most number of albums. As expected, BTS came in at number 1 with 7.2 million album copies sold in 2021, followed by NCT 127, NCT Dream, Seventeen, Stray Kids, ENHYPEN, TXT, ATEEZ, TWICE, EXO, The Boyz, Baekhyun, ITZY, MONSTA X, and NCT. Baekhyun is the only solo artist, and JYP's TWICE and ITZY are the only female groups in the top 15.
For the top 15 male idol artists who sold the most albums, BTS came in at number 1 followed by NCT 127, NCT Dream, Seventeen, Stray Kids, ENHYPEN, TXT, ATEEZ, EXO, The Boyz, Baekhyun, MONSTA X, NCT, ASTRO, and SHINee.
The top 15 female idol artist includes TWICE at number 1 followed by ITZY, Lisa, Rose, aespa, IU, Red Velvet, BLACKPINK, STAYC, and (G)I-DLE.