ICv2.com: Digital Sales Up 29 Percent 2012 To 2013
It doesn't include sales to the group-access subscription type sites, but ICv2.com's estimate of the size of the digital market for comics is interesting in a lot of ways, mostly by putting a number on the growth of such sales. While the period 2010-2012 turned out to be a ridiculous, sustained mini-event in terms of annually compounding the sales figures involved, 2013's 29 percent reflects powerful but more reasonable growth. For me, this is about there being an industry mechanism (sites led comiXology) that helps shape a change in behavior by consumers (buying and reading comics on-line in rough approximation of print comics buying, either as directed by sales and content-driven incentives or as a swap-in for previous paper-buying routines).
I don't think that market has finished developing. There's just too much weight to the massive libraries of content some of these companies can bring to bear. I do think any clear break from a model that includes these kinds of sales will from now on be judged against a certain level of performance rather than by comparing estimations of potential.