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362. Relive Your Childhood

Lee, Dong-eun 기자2016.06.18 17:01:37

           Disney's Zootopia has become the fifth most viewed animated film of all time in Korea, drawing more than 4 million viewers nationwide. Released on the 17th, February, it is now a long term box office hit, staying in the upper part of box office rankings for nearly two months. The film is set in the animal world of Zootopia where prey and predators live in peace and harmony and revolves around the first rabbit police officer in the world, named Judy. The most remarkable aspect of the popularity is that a lot of adults are attracted by animated film, which actually targeted young children. It has managed to appeal to both children and adults, overlapping their interests, despite the vast differences in experience, education and capacity to understand. This phenomenon is called "Kidult", which is a compound word for kid and adult. As the retro fad has largely expanded again these days, and many products which arouse nostalgia make people miss their youth, "Kidult" has become an influential culture in Korea. Nanoblock is one of the most typical "Kidult" toys which people can assemble first hand by putting the pieces of a character together. It becomes very attractive to people, since they can build their favorite characters, and the finished goods can be used as decorations. According to G Market, sales of Nanoblock increased more than 13 times in November, 2015, compared with the corresponding period last year. The main consumers were men between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. Since then, women in their 20s have also started buying Nanoblocks. Furthermore, convenience stores have launched their own brands of Nanoblock. CU, managed by BGF Retail, primarily produced a private block toy in September, 2015. It was sold out within five days and was also at  a premium on web sites.

           Coloring Books are "Kidult" products, too. This is a book in which readers can fill up the given sketches by painting them. It started to become a nationwide sensation when a Coloring Book named "The Secret Garden" was shown in a popular drama. The Coloring Book has appealed to today's people who have a lot of stress, since it can heal wounded minds and hearts by using painting as an anti-stress strategy. The number of Coloring Books which are being sold now has reached up to 370, and they contain various contents from natural objects like trees, flowers and animals to fashion illustrations and landscapes of cities around the world. According to Kyobo Book Centre, the sales of Coloring Books in October 2015 increased by 492.17% compared with the corresponding period of last year. The recorded rate of expansion was 193.29% in October, 155.41% in November and 158.57% in December.

           Above all, Figure can be called as the most typical and popular "Kidult" product. It is a toy shaped like a human or an animal, which can express various actions by moving its joints. Figure was recognized as a minority culture at first, but it has enlarged its popularity so much that major industries like movies, games, sports, food and shopping are trying to produce their own versions. According to LOTTE Mart, the turnovers of Figures targeting adults increased by 88.2% in 2015. This also increased by 148.6% in January and February, 2016. Furthermore, the sales of Figure increased by 236% in Auctions in March, 2015. It is remarkable that the main consumers were in their 40s (43%), and 30s (42%). Moreover, a venture business in Korea first invented the fastest 3D Figure modeling technology in the world and has opened a new Figure market in May, 2015.

           In addition, many offline stores specializing in "Kidult" products have opened, and the collaboration of the cosmetic industry with the characters is in full fling. The "Kidult" market is expanding rapidly, and its turnover is also increasing day by day. Researchers assume that the market breadth of "Kidult" amounts to  about 5 to 7 trillion won per year, and it will continue to increase by 20 to 30% every year. The essence of this "Kidult" fever is nostalgia. In the modern society, which is busy and hard hearted, people can relive their childhood joys through "Kidult" products. The "Kidult" industry is now firmly established as one of the leading cultures in the country and is significantly influencing other industries.

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