A reading of Sunday paper buyers

A lifestyles study has found there are subtle differences between Sunday papers’ readers.

Planning a national newspaper promotion dem ands detailed readership research; evaluating its impact even more. But media planners have been unable to analyse the fine differences between readers of different Sunday papers. Instead, they have been forced to group together readers according to a paper’s position in the market: broadsheet, mid-market or down market.

That is, until now. Consumer Lifestyle Communications (CLC), a division of lifestyle survey specialist NDL International, has published the latest findings of its National Consumer Survey which reveal, for the first time, details of the personal tastes and habits of individual Sunday papers’ readers.

A typical Mail on Sunday reader is a connoisseur of collectibles: from figurines to stamps and coins. Such activities are almost twice as common among Mail on Sunday readers than is the national norm. She – for 74.7 per cent of Mail on Sunday readers are women – is also one and-a-half times more likely to be interested in slimming, playing card and board games and keeping an eye on stocks and shares.

By contrast, typical Sunday Express readers, while even more interested in collectibles, are older and almost twice as likely as the national norm to have grandchildren and enjoy crosswords. But they are less likely than the average Mail on Sunday reader to enjoy skiing and home computer games. Mail on Sunday readers enjoy both more than the national average. Neither have a significant appetite for bingo.

The distinctions between readers of The People and The News of the World are equally discreet. Both share double the average addiction to the pools and bingo. Catalogue shopping and crosswords are also major interests. Yet a typical People reader is more likely to rank sewing and knitting, pets and gardening higher than a News of the World reader.

News of the World readers are half as likely as the UK average to be regularly involved in religious activities or the National Trust. Theatre, culture and the arts also rank low. People readers’ interest in personal computers, science, technology and skiing are less than half the UK norm.

The findings are based on a personalised NCS survey sent to 2.5 million individuals in January. It generated a response rate of 600,000 households, or 900,000 individuals. NDL intends to double the mailing next year once the survey is published twice yearly.

“Many differences are quite subtle, but well worth noting because even a slight shift in age band – from an emphasis among 25 to 34-year-olds to 35 to 44-year-olds – has significant implications in terms of marketing,” says NDL marketing manager Kim van Haeften. “This will offer agencies a far finer measure than data presently available from the papers themselves, or the National Readership Survey.”

NDL plans to repeat analysis of different sections of the paper market to enable half yearly comparisons of shifts in readership profiles.