The age group that reads the most e-comics is perhaps not the one that you’d think, for a few reasons.

“Those youngsters and their newfangled technology!” is something you’d probably think a middle-aged person would say to a kid. But what if the tables were turned and it were the older ones using the most tech in a certain scenario?

Actually, that’s pretty much what an Internet survey conducted by Oricon ME between May 17 and June 7 of this year revealed. According to 10,438 e-comic reader respondents between the ages of 15-79 who read e-comics at least once per week, the age demographic that subscribed most frequently for these services, at 50.5 percent, was those in their 50s. Conversely, the age group that subscribed least frequently, at 6.2 percent, was those between 10 to 19 years old.

In addition, the results also revealed that the older age groups have a higher frequency of use of e-comic services. 51 percent of those in their 50s responded that they read e-comics almost every day, compared to 50.6 percent in their 60s, 45.9 percent in their 40s, and even less frequently for those younger.

▼ It seems for now, at least, we can still expect to see youngsters’ imaginations running wild while staring at thin tree slices.

While those results caught many by surprise, the survey also offered a few explanations for the higher frequency of e-comic subscriptions among the middle-aged crowd. First, smartphone and tablet usage among those in their 50s and up has gone up in recent years as well as the number of users of e-comic apps in their 40s and 50s. The spread of digital devices and increase in digital literacy has resulted in more than 70 percent of e-comic readers using apps to get their weekly story fix. Second, more stable incomes among the older age groups translates to more spending power for the pursuit of hobbies. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, these age groups have recognized that they can read not only the latest works out there, but also reread the nostalgic series of their youth with ease over e-comic apps.

▼ From now on, I’ll always be wondering if that ossan in the park is reading manga on his phone.

Comments left by Japanese net users also expressed various personal preferences:

“Whoah, I would have thought the younger age groups would have been at the top.”
“My mental image is that 50-year-olds like reading from physical books.”
“Yup, I’ve moved to e-comics only. I’ve got no need for bookshelves anymore.”
“I always like to hold the physical copy in my hands, so I’ve never subscribed to an e-comic service before.”
“It’s so easy to get hooked and not be able to stop with e-comics…I try not to look at them, but somehow I always get sucked in…”

In any case, I for one am glad to learn that paper comics are still cool among the younger crowd. I can’t wait to finally book a night in a bookshelf at this Tokyo hotel someday, too.

Source: Livedoor News via Otakomu
Images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3)
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