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The Dark Knight rises: Batman tops online superhero merchandise sales

by Taylor Stanton - February 23, 2019

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Batman, and Deadpool, and Captain America, oh my! Hardly a month has passed in 2016 without a major superhero film being released. The mightiest heroes of Marvel and DC have also come to life on the small screen. With the comic book bubble in full effect, Slice Intelligence used super data to see which comic book characters are most popular with online shoppers. The Dark Knight rises to the top in terms of online toys, games, and apparel sales; 28 percent of superhero merchandise purchased since January 2015 was Batman branded.

At the brand level, Marvel superhero themed online toy and apparel sales soar over DC by nearly nine percent. The Marvel lead is powered by purchases on Spiderman merchandise and the characters featured in the Disney backed Cinematic Universe.

Comic merchandise purchases are most powerful during the holidays

Overall, online shoppers spend the most on superhero toys and apparel during the holidays, with 33 percent of super buys occurring during November and December. Spiderman teams-up with Batman as the second most popular perennial character. While Spidey is the second most popular character throughout the year,  Superman and Captain America merchandise purchases surpassed him this spring. The Man of Steel soared above the web-slinger in March, the month that Clark Kent's film premiered. March and April were also big for Captain America merchandise; The First Avenger's toys and apparel sales officially sprinted ahead of Peter Parker in April, the month before Steve Roger's newest movie.

Demographics show women are the super fans

While comic book fans are often depicted as young men, women actually buy the majority of superhero toys, games, and apparel online. Female buyers account for 60 of online superhero themed toys and apparel purchases.  This skew grows when looking specifically at comic themed apparel sales where women account for 70 percent of online buys, which is important since online revenue on superhero apparel is 26 percent larger than toy sales.

Superhero shoppers are team Amazon

Amazon is the Incredible Hulk when it comes to superhero merchandise sales; 40 percent of superhero toys and clothes fly off the shelves of Amazon.com. This preference is even greater when looking purely at Superhero toy sales as 60 percent of comic toys are purchased with the Seattle company.

About this data

With a panel of over 4 million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world.