The sector may have been bracing itself for far worse figures and several commentators noted that the relatively small decline is a good indication that the market is resilient.
Rather than abandoning magazines, consumers are appear to be changing the kinds of titles they buy. The trend is away from generalist titles with more specialist publications seeing greater increases in circulation.
Appetite for flippant, throwaway titles is on the wane, as demonstrated by the continued slide in the women’s weeklies and lifestyle categories, which dropped by 4.8% and 2.8 % year on year.
Whereas publications which have a distinct purpose and provide consumers with some form of knowledge fared better.
The ‘lads mags’ sector reported dire results. Nuts, Zoo, Loaded and FHM all reported double-digit drops and the category saw a 4.7% decline overall year on year.
They are doing so badly because they don’t offer what consumers want any more and don’t provide anything that isn’t already available online or elsewhere, says Liam Mullins, head of press at media agency The7stars.
Specialist titles Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness however, both saw boosted circulation, reporting 2.1% and 3.6% gains respectively. Women’s Fitness jumped an incredible 78% year on year, albeit from a low starting point to. Specialist film title Empire also did well, reporting a 3.6% gain.
“People don’t want generalist titles,” says Mullins. “People think twice if they are going to shell out and if they are going to spend £3.50 on a magazine, they want it to be specialist.”
An explosion of recession curiosity has led to a rise in circulation figures for Finance and Business titles, according to Mullins, as consumers seek awareness about the current economic situation.
MoneyWeek increased its circulation by 15.3% over the last 12 months, and The Economist (UK Edition) saw strong growth increasing 2.6% to 187,341.
Weekly news title The Week, which offers a weekly roundup of news and current affairs issues has forged ahead with 10.3% rise this year to 165,609.