Consumer ABCs: industry analysis

17 Aug 2018 
Consumer ABCs: industry analysis

The latest ABC results chart all the trends for the consumer magazine market. Here, industry experts digest the findings

Graham Martin, head of publishing, Total Media

Publishers have some reason to take heart. Men and women’s lifestyle titles are proving relatively robust, with growth in some women’s titles and only small declines in men’s.

It’s interesting to see growth from The Economist which has been working to grow its youth audiences, embracing platforms like Snapchat to reach teens and Instagram to reach 18-34s.

This tells us that magazines are not a declining medium among youth audiences. If a brand is able to understand audience behaviour, what they want to read (usually high quality, in depth content about specialist areas) and reach them where they are, it can perform exceptionally, even in an age when many point to the duopoly heralding the end for publishers.

For media buyers, publishers are contextually relevant and safe places to find valuable audiences regardless of the channel or product.

Yes, the results are mixed as women’s weeklies see declines as do many other old stalwart titles, but it’s not the picture of doom and gloom many commentators like to paint.

High quality journalism and understanding of specialist issues will always draw readers.

Sue Todd, CEO Magnetic

Quality not quantity

The latest ABC’s mirror an evolving magazine landscape. A modest decline of 5% in total print circulation is accompanied by a sizeable increase in the online circulation for consumer magazines. But this only tells part of the story of how these brands super serve communities with common interests.

From fashion to fitness, photography to food, a forthcoming report produced by Enders Analysis for Magnetic finds that over 90% of discretionary spend comes from "identity categories" - in other words consumers are spending more on their passions and enthusiasms.

For advertisers and media planners, understanding what consumers are enthusiastic about and appreciating the role magazine brands play in connecting people to their passions is crucial and represents a powerful media opportunity.

Beyond passions, there is strong demand in this fake news era, for magazine news and current affairs content, with many notable titles showing growth in circulation – The Spectator +11%, The Economist +8% and The Week Junior +29%.

A recent report from Ofcom highlighted the strengths of magazines in the News arena with magazines outperforming other media types in terms of quality, trust and depth.

As magazines evolve and expand into new forms and channels, it’s reassuring to see they still provide unmatched quality and relevance and that print still resonates for vast numbers - over 20 million copies of magazines in circulation in the UK in the last 6 months.

Demand for highly trusted, curated, quality content is still satisfied by print but increasingly served in many other ways.

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