U.S. Remains Fastest-Growing Market for K-Pop’s Physical Album Sales; Reaches All-Time High in 2020

Despite the clear decline of physical album sales across the globe, one genre continues to show stunning physical sales performance in the U.S. market. According to South Korea’s Gaon Music Chart and the Korea Customs Service, global K-Pop album sales jumped a whopping 60% globally between 2019 and 2020 — with a 90% increase in the United States alone.

K-Pop Physical Album Sales 2016-2020

This counter-trend is a phenomenon uniquely K-Pop, something attributable to both consumer behaviors of the fandom and the record-breaking performance of albums released by popular idol groups BTS, BLACKPINK, and more. 2020’s performance was so strong that, even with COVID-19’s economic impact, K-Pop’s physical sales still managed to enjoy a record year.

To support this growing album demand, K-Pop fandom platform theQoos officially launched commerce this month. Starting with the release of NCT Dream’s first studio album ‘Hot Sauce,’ U.S.-based users are now able to pre-order albums directly from theQoos’ online store.

Users can not only access a special discount through the mobile application, but group order incentives are also available. Additionally, each ‘Hot Sauce’ purchase brings fans closer to an opportunity to win a signed copy of NCT Dream’s 2017 EP ‘We Young.’

Meanwhile, NCT Dream is a unit of SM Entertainment boy group NCT, who has sold over 2.8 million copies of their 2020 two-part LP ‘Resonance’ – more than doubling album-equivalent sales of Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ through physical sales alone. This number also made ‘Resonance’ the top-selling in SM’s history, breaking a 25-year-long record originally set by legend idol group H.O.T. As one of the first NCT releases following ‘Resonance,’ NCT Dream’s ‘Hot Sauce’ is among K-Pop’s most anticipated in 2021.

The commerce launch is the latest addition to theQoos, which also provides up-to-date idol news aggregation and an interactive social community. As the only U.S. platform dedicated exclusively to K-Pop’s rapidly-growing domestic fanbase, theQoos works to provide a service accommodating their users’ unique needs — including customizable news feeds, community boards and chatrooms, and exclusive fan Q&A events with trending K-Pop artists.