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A new study uncovers how much K-pop fans are spending on their faves

Some BLACKPINK, TWICE, and BTS fans can spend around $1,400 in a year

K-pop stans are renowned for being religiously devoted to their favourite artists, as well as being prodigious social media users adept at weaponising their vast numbers for social good – see their hijacking of racist hashtags, and the circulating of fundraisers for victims of police brutality – but has their fandom ever been quantified or measured?

iPrice Group, Southeast Asia’s leading e-commerce aggregator, has attempted to do just that. Data from its new study reveals how much K-pop stans spend on their idols, including on concert tickets, records, and merchandise.

Fans of BTS topped the list, with iPrice calculating that some of the most devoted members of the BTS Army spent on average $1,422 (£1,067) on their products. Included in that price would be at least 15 studio albums and EPs, numerous concerts, and a fair amount of merch. Twice fans came in second, spending up to about $824 (£618), while BLACKPINK fans (blinks) came in third, spending up to $665 (£499). It’s worth noting that BLACKPINK are a newer, younger band with fewer records and tours under their belt, so have fewer items to buy than the other two groups.

Kim, who runs the social media for UK-based K-pop shop kyyo.co.uk, tells Dazed that the genre’s popularity stems from the fact that it appeals to all ages. “It’s accessible to everyone from many different lifestyles and cultures, and is also many different genres within one genre.”

“When I first started liking it I was only really buying albums from one group,” she says, adding: “But I really liked the idea of the contents and started buying other group’s things. Now I have found my favourite group, NCT, and I’m biased for that group so I tend to just buy their merch and albums.” 

Kim estimates that she’s spent at least $500 on all things NCT, a group with 23 members divided into sub-units based in various cities worldwide. “My favourite merch would be my Taeil signed poster ;),” she says, referring to the lead vocalist. “In our shop though, BTS are the most popular selling items.”

But why the vast sums of money? For K-pop stan Twitter account @itsirmaimnida, who has spent close to $1,000 on various artists, there’s a reciprocal relationship between the top acts and the top fans: “They always try their best tirelessly and we fans know that so we want to give our best as well for our idols.” 

Read our piece here on the BTS stans buying shares in the favourite group.