Good and bad news for sales of magazines during the business destroying lockdowns due to Covid-19

Good and bad news for sales of magazines during the business destroying lockdowns due to Covid-19 with Slimming World down and BBC Good Food up

The printing industry’s flagship trade publication Print Week has reported on the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) on consumer magazines.

Journalist Richard Stuart-Turner reported that a number of titles covering the news and current affairs and home and garden sectors bucked a general downward trend in a Covid-19 hit market.

Big Issue’s boost

Not surprisingly the subjects covered by consumer titles that have done best during the last half of 2020 were those about hobbies and interests close to home such as crafts, cars, DIY and gardening. But there were other surprises as well with informed political publications holding up along with motoring titles.

Richard Stuart-Turner reported: “The Big Issue experienced growth of 13% year-on-year to 47,973 copies and The Spectator saw an 11% increase to 91,165. The Week Junior, meanwhile, leapt by 36% to 98,246. Others saw slight dips, with Private Eye’s circulation down 2% year-on-year to 236,705 and New Statesman down 3% to 36,591, but these were nevertheless trending ahead of an average 6% fall year-on-year in UK consumer magazine circulation, according to calculations by Press Gazette.

“While the pandemic saw non-essential retail shuttered on and off during the year, hitting newsstand sales of many titles, some magazines experienced a significant increase in subscriptions. These included the aforementioned New Statesman, which despite its overall circulation fall in 2020 grew its paid-for digital subscriptions by 75% and its print subscriptions by 12%.”

He said that the  BBC Gardeners’ World magazine posted a 33% increase in circulation across print and digital to 226,806, BBC Good Food saw circulation up by 10% year-on-year to 200,039 and Olive recorded annual growth of 38% to 40,580 copies. And other big increases in circulation were seen by Garden Answers (up 35%), Real Homes (up 26%), Landscape (up 25%), Garden News (up 18%), Car (up 16%), Classic & Sports Car (up 16%), Style At Home (up 15%) and Country Walking (up 15%).

Ian Carrotte said the results reflected how the pandemic and lockdowns had effected people’s lives. “For instance Slimming World Magazine’s circulation was down 36% as many people gave up trying to lose weight. They can’t get married, go on a beach holiday or simply dance the night away in a night club so they might as well enjoy a little more food and drink at home instead,” he remarked.

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