The origins of the NFT industry developed from digital artists Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash minting the first known NFT on May 3, 2014. Since then, a lot has happened. NFTs have taken the entire world by storm, enabling the NFT industry to become one of the most profitable verticals.
Today, digital artists and companies across various industries leverage NFTs to mint digital art pieces, spaces in the virtual world (metaverse), travel experiences, and more. In fact, the NFT industry includes so many moving parts that it has become borderline impossible to keep track of everything that’s going on.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the most noteworthy NFT industry statistics you should know in 2023.
The most interesting NFT industry statistics
- 5.1 million wallets collected at least 1 NFT.
- Among all age groups, young millennials are the most interested in NFTs.
- The total number of NFT collections reached 174.8k in September 2022.
- OpenSea NFT marketplace is dominating the market with almost 32.2 billion sales as of September 2022.
- The Merge collection auctioned for $91.8m, the highest NFT sale ever.
- Ethereum 2.0 (Proof-of-Stake) technology will become less energy-intensive by 99%.
- On average, it costs $100 to mint and list NFTs for sale.
» Extra read: How many NFTs are there?
20+ incredible NFT industry stats, trends, & facts
Let’s explore different NFT statistics that most people don’t know about.
1. 5.1 million wallet addresses used NFTs at least once.
It’s easy to assume that not that many people hold NFTs. This is simply because NFT collections are pretty limited. However, the statistics tell another story. A staggering 5.1 million addresses or wallets have collected at least 1 NFT as of September 2022.
Remember that these are not the unique number of NFT users since one person can have multiple wallets, but this number keeps growing monthly.
2. China and Hong Kong are the countries with the highest search interest in the “NFT” term.
Google Trends enables you to explore the most popular search terms by location. According to the latest Google Trends reporting, China and Hong Kong are the two top countries with the highest search interest in the “NFT” term, with popularity values of 100 and 96, respectively.
Singapore, Nigeria, and Taiwan follow them closely, with NFT term search popularity values of 83, 68, and 54.
3. OpenSea is the biggest NFT marketplace with 2.16m traders and $32.14b in sales (as of September 2022).
Although are 70 marketplaces available for trading NFTs, not all are the same in popularity and sales volume. Here are the top 5 NFT marketplaces where people buy NFTs based on the number of traders and sales volume.
Top 5 NFT Marketplaces (as of September 2022):
- OpenSea — 2.16 million traders and $32.14 billion in sales;
- Axie Marketplace — 2.15 million traders and $4.25 billion in sales;
- Atomic Market — 1 million traders and $429.58 million in sales;
- Magic Eden — 931K traders and $1.65 billion sales; and
- NBA Top Shot — 567K traders and $967.42 million in sales.
4. The Merge by Pak is the highest-value collection sale ever, auctioned for $91.8m.
Some NFT collections generate more interest than others. In other words, people see some NFT collections as more valuable investment opportunities. As a result, top NFT collections auction for much higher prices than less popular ones. Here are the most expensive NFT collections ever auctioned.
» Learn more: How much do NFTs cost?
5 biggest NFT sales (as of September 2022):
- The Merge by Pak — auctioned for $91.8 million;
- Everydays: the First 5000 Days — auctioned for $69.3 million;
- Clock — auctioned for $52.7m;
- Beeple’s HUMAN ONE — auctioned for $28.98m; and
- CryptoPunks Ͼ 5822 — auctioned for $24m.
5. The iconic Doge meme NFT, with a price tag of $4 million, is the most expensive NFT meme ever sold.
The online community is very familiar with the Doge meme. It’s among the most popular memes online, depicting a Japanese dog breed, the Shiba Inu.
This meme has also become quite popular in NFT circles. It sold on Zora in June 2021, reaching a whopping $4 million price, making it the most expensive NFT meme ever sold. The new Doge meme owner said that the NFT would divide into 17 billion parts, and 20% of the new $DOG tokens would go up for auction.
6. Both low and high-income people invest in NFTs at the same rate.
Collecting, trading, and buying NFTs has become a hobby that both low- and high-income people share. People with less than $25,000 and more than $150,000 are equally interested in and investing in NFTs.
What about the middle-income class, though? People, with an income between $25,000 and $150,000 are not as enthusiastic as their low- and high-income peers. More precisely, 95% of them are not excited about NFTs at all.
7. Young millennials are the most interested in NFTs among all age groups.
NFTs are not popular to the same extent among different age groups. Young millennials are the most interested in NFTs of all age groups, with over 20% planning to collect them.
According to Civic Science and Finder research, baby boomers (people older than 60) are the age group least interested in collecting NFTs.
8. The total number of NFT collections reached 175k in September 2022.
The best way to track NFT activity is to monitor the number of released NFT collections over time.
The total number of created NFT collections reached 174.8k as of September 2022. This reflects an exponential growth of over 750% in one year, considering that this number was only 22.8k in September 2021.
9. The maximum weekly trade volume of NFTs in 2022 reached $1.12 billion, compared to $1.08 billion in 2021.
Another way to check the NFT industry’s and markets’ pulse is to monitor the weekly trade volume of NFTs. In September 2021, the weekly NFT trade volume peaked at $1.08 billion. It peaked at $1.12 billion in May 2022.
On the surface, it may look like there was no significant shift in the trend. However, if you take a closer look, you can see that the ratio of Gaming and Art & Collectibles contribution to the weekly trade volume of NFTs has drastically increased.
For instance, in 2021, Gaming NFTs stats reached a weekly trade volume of $163.49 million, while Art & Collectibles reached $914.21 million. In 2022, Gaming NFT trade volume peaked at $826.99 million, while Art & Collectibles peaked at $296.16 million.
10. Over 79% of Americans still don’t know what an NFT is.
While it has been eight years since the first NFT was minted, most people still don’t know what an NFT is. According to the latest reports, 79% of American adults aren’t familiar with NFTs.
Most adults in other countries are not familiar with NFTs either. For instance, 90% of the adult population in Japan and 82.6% of adults in Germany don’t know what an NFT is. Surprisingly, only 55.3% of adults in Hong Kong are unaware of NFTs.
11. Most primary NFT sales are priced below $200.
Since different sources cite varying numbers for the average price of primary NFT sales, it can be challenging to establish the exact figures. Kimberly Parker, an artist, decided to do independent research. She found that most primary NFT sales don’t go above $200.
A primary sale refers to the first time that you sell an NFT. According to Parker’s research, 33.6% of primary sales come out at under $100, while 20% are between $100 and $200. This means that over half of the primary sales, 53.6% to be precise, are $200 or less. Only 2.5% went above $600.
12. Average NFT prices can vary by 600% from platform to platform.
Not all platforms have the same average NFT prices. In fact, in many cases, you will find six-fold variations. For instance, average NFT prices on Valuable are only $150, while they reach $500 on OpenSea. If you check Mintable, you’ll find the average price is $900.
That’s because not all platforms list all of the NFTs available for trade. Considering that top-selling NFTs go for millions, this can significantly impact the average NFT prices on a platform.
13. NFTs are not as eco-friendly as you might have thought.
A carbon footprint of an NFT can be equal to that of a month of electricity usage by an EU citizen.
Creating, distributing, and transferring ownership of an NFT requires energy. Even bidding on an NFT consumes power. Some interesting figures result when you translate that energy into a carbon footprint. For instance, an NFT sale creates 51 kg of CO2, and a transfer creates 30 kg of CO2, while a bid creates 23 kg of CO2.
To put things into perspective: bidding, selling, and transferring an NFT creates over 100 kg of CO2, equivalent to the carbon footprint of a two-hour flight.
14. Lower-carbon NFTs consume 0.00006 TWh of energy annually, compared to high-carbon NFTs, which consume 33.57 TWh of energy annually.
Many blockchains and NFTs consume significant computational energy because they operate on Proof-of-Work. The two most popular ones, Bitcoin and Ethereum, use PoW. However, Proof-of-Stake has significantly lower energy intensity and could soon replace this high-energy system.
Some blockchains and their corresponding NFTs already use PoS, including Polygon, Symbol, and Tezos. To put things into perspective, PoS-based NFTs consume 0.00006 TWh of energy annually compared to their PoW-based counterparts, which consume 33.57 TWh of energy annually.
15. Thanks to the Proof-of-Stake system, Ethereum 2.0 technology will become less energy-intensive by 99%.
Ethereum is planning to transition from the Proof-of-Work to the Proof-of-Stake system. If the transition is successful, it will enable Ethereum 2.0 and its corresponding NFTs to consume 99% less energy. This plan to go from PoW to PoS is scheduled for 2022.
16. The founder and ex-CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, minted his first-ever tweet and sold it as an NFT for $2.9 million.
NFTs enable you to mint and sell virtually anything. The best example is what the founder and ex-CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, did with his first-ever tweet. He minted his first tweet saying, “just setting up my twttr” and placed it on auction dubbed as the “Mona Lisa of Tweets.”
He set the price per character at $100,000, and the NFT sold for $2.9 million. This NFT was able to sell for that high because, at the time of the auction, people believed that the price would rise in the future. Unfortunately, its price dropped by 99%.
17. Kings of Leon is the first band to produce an album as an NFT.
As previously mentioned, you can use various items to mint an NFT. That’s why the NFT industry eventually overlaps with many other verticals, including the music industry. For instance, Kings of Leon became the first band to produce an album as an NFT. It enabled the band to capitalize on the popularity of NFT and secure more than $2 million in NFT sales.
18. Eminem sold his first NFT collection, “Shady Con,” for $1.78 million.
American “Rap God”, Eminem, minted digital action figures as NFTs. These action figures influenced Eminem and helped him smooth his way through his challenging childhood. The famous rapper named his NFT collection “Shady Con” and sold it via Nifty Gateways, auctioning it for $1.78 million.
19. An NFT marketplace facilitated the sale of a LeBron James statue for more than $21.6 million.
The world’s superstars have an advantage in securing high profits from NFTs. The statue of LeBron James, a famous NBA star, was minted as an NFT and listed in an auction in a marketplace. It sold for more than $21.6 million. Some argue that LeBron himself profited from this sale as well.
20. Taco Bell is the first fast food chain to mint and sell a 25-piece NFT collection.
So far, we’ve seen brands across industries minting and selling NFTs. However, Taco Bell is the first fast food chain to produce and sell an NFT collection.
This fast food brand created an NFT collection of 25 digital art pieces. It sold out in only 30 minutes, with some NFTs selling for over $3,000 each.
21. It costs $100 on average to mint and list your NFTs for sale.
The average NFT prices can mislead you into thinking it’s expensive to mint and sell NFTs. However, the truth is quite the opposite. You can produce and mint artwork for anywhere between $70 and $120.
It all depends on which blockchain you choose and what techniques you employ. For instance, generating the simplest NFTs can cost you just a few bucks, while their complex counterparts can cost up to $1,000.
22. Cryptopunks were the top-selling NFTs in July 2022, generating $2.66 million in sales.
Some NFTs are more popular than others. The most reliable way to track the popularity of the NFTs is to check the top NFT sales by volume over a specific time frame. In July 2022, Cryptopunks NFTs generated the highest sales volume of $2.66 million.
In the second place, we have BoredApeYachtClub NFTs. This NFT collection generated $1.07 million in trade volume. Next, we have four other Cryptopunks NFT collections, each generating approximately $400k of trade volume.
23. With 27.5 million recorded sales, gaming NFTs are the most popular NFT category.
The most popular NFT categories include games, collectibles, utilities, art, and the metaverse. However, the game is the undisputed NFT category champion when it comes to popularity. This NFT category generated 27.5 million sales, almost 17 million more than the second-placed NFT collectibles category.
24. The number of unique NFT buyers has exceeded 3.5 million.
A couple more statistics complete the full picture of how popular NFTs are. For instance, unique NFT buyers have exceeded 3.5 million, while their selling counterparts have reached two million. As for the total number of NFT sales, this number passed the 42.8 million mark on July 13, 2022.
You can gauge the status of the NFT industry like an expert with all of these statistics. These numbers can help you to understand the NFT industry and see where it’s headed. Ultimately, you can use these stats to decide whether it’s worth investing in NFTs and minting and selling your own collection.
» More interesting stats articles: