The latest ABC figures for consumer magazines has just been released, covering January to June of this year. There have been some record figures in the period, but as always we’ll try to gauge the bigger picture as well.


There was an average drop in circulation of 5.3% of UK consumer magazines (including both digital and print editions) in the period covered, with the majority of titles losing readers. Out of this apparently negative overall picture however it is worth pointing out that i) this was a news period unlike any other – and how people spent their magazine disposable income was quite possibly affected by this and ii) there were some remarkably positive results too.


Following on from the above theory that the news could have (positively and/or negatively) affected sales, the current affairs market has, unsurprisingly had a positive 2016 so far. The UK edition of The Economist saw circulation up 3.7% YoY (combined digital and print), with fewer of those copies being distributed for free. The Spectator Group, inclusive of digital, saw a rise of 37.9% YoY. Meanwhile the Private Eye maintained its place on top of the print pile, as the best selling UK current affairs magazine, reaching its highest circulation since 1986 with sales of 230,099 a fortnight.


The standout in the women’s lifestyle sector was the relaunched Cosmopolitan, with circulation up a massive 60% YoY. Helped no doubt by the reduced cost of the title, now £1, and the large increase in free distribution, the title is now second in paid-for titles in the sector with a circulation of 413,155 copies. Good Housekeeping saw an increase of 8.6% PoP to remain the sector leader with a circulation of 444,941 copies. Elle UK, Women’s Health, Tatler, Red and Harper’s Bazaar all also recorded some YoY growth.


Men’s lifestyle saw overall declines (GQ down -3.3% YoY to 117,000, Men’s Health down -7% YoY to 180,000), although Esquire bucked this trend with an impressive 14.5% YoY, reaching a combined circulation of 64,700 in the period.


The women’s weeklies sector took some big hits; with OK Magazine the standout. The combined title saw its audience slide by -36% PoP, to a circulation of 176,386. Also faring badly, Heat was down -22% YoY and Now -21.8% YoY.


By Oliver Brown


Although these are worse overall results than the previous period – we’d recommend taking a long view here. This has been an extraordinary period, and even despite that there has been an incredible resilience to the sector, particularly from those titles who have doubled down on innovation and quality content.


As always, for more information about any of the above and how it might affect your brand, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.