Jul-Dec 2012 ABC Consumer Circulation

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February saw the release of the ABC circulation figures for the consumer magazine market for the final six months of 2012 (July-December) showing how the sector has faired in YoY comparisons.

Free Publication on the rise

Source: abc.org.uk

Women’s Consumer

Women’s consumer magazines once again top the pile for the highest overall circulations with the women’s lifestyle sector still selling some 6.86ml copies during the 6 month period but down 3.8% YoY.

The Women’s weekly magazine market has experienced some drastic drops in its circulation, with even the top performing titles seeing their YoY figures drop by between 5 and 21%.  Although this sounds gloomy for the industry, women’s weekly magazines still account for an average circulation of just under 6 million.  The messages portrayed in these media are therefore still reaching large audiences.

Free titles have bucked the trend in the women’s consumer magazine market with growth seen by John Lewis Edition and Stylist magazine, which for the first time has over taken the top paid for Women’s lifestyle/fashion magazine, Glamour which saw a 9.10% drop in its YoY circulation figures.

This growth in free titles and fall in the paid for market is something that must be taken in to account by planners, but it is also important to consider the trust and dwell time on advertising in paid for vs free titles.  Individuals are much more likely to read and consume what is placed in front of them in a title they have actively purchased ahead of one they have picked up at a train station or a supermarket.

Men’s Consumer

The big development to occur in the men’s consumer magazine market is the continued marked decline of the ‘lad’s mag’.  More up-market titles such as Condé Nast’s GQ, have over taken FHM, in terms of circulation for the first time, leading to conclusion that the men’s consumer market is looking for a more sophisticated read.

The circulation figures of ‘lad’s mags’ FHM, Nuts and Zoo have all seen dramatic reductions, with Nuts in-particular suffering a 29.7% Y0Y reduction in circulation.  In contrast to the stable, if not growing performance of more sophisticated titles; GQ maintaining a circulation of just over 120,000, while Esquire magazine in fact saw an 8.8% rise in its YoY circulation figures.

Free titles such as Shortlist maintain market leading status and even increased their circulations between 2011 and 2012, from 526,359 to 531,733 servicing many of the Nuts, Zoo readers free of charge.

The other key market in men’s lifestyle magazine sector is that of the fitness magazine and this market has endured a mixed year.  Men’s Fitness, the sector’s second largest title by circulation saw a rise in YoY circulation by 0.10%, but two other key players, Men’s Health and Healthy for Men endured a down turn in their circulations.  Healthy for Men’s YoY drop was as much as 35.8%.

UK men are therefore still interested in the consumer magazine market, but when planning, it is crucial to choose one’s title correctly.  Free titles have grown and are likely to do so in the short term, but like in the women’s market issues of reader trust and involvement in free titles must be considered.  More up-market magazines seem to be where the market is moving towards and the use of titles such as GQ and Esquire look to be a stable platform on which to advertise ones brand to a defined audience.


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