In 2009, agencies were widely informed by magazines across every sector, not just the women’s, that static postings on ABC’s were ‘the new increases’ and it seems the same trends continue for the latest July-December 2010 postings.
When delving into the full reports on the last 2 periods analysis we saw figures being manipulated by increases in free circulation and distribution via multi-packing. In the latest ABC’s there is a shift towards ex UK sales for many of the women’s titles who are reporting static circulation period on period. Although the latest half year to be monitored covers the traditional summer holiday months, many UK focused retailers and brands will be unaware from top line figures that a significant number of their core titles have actually had significant decreases in the UK sales of their magazines.
Whilst Glamour still leads the circulation race by 100,000 copies over and above its nearest challenger Cosmopolitan, the title suffered its largest period on period (POP) decrease for many years, down 4.8%. However if we look at the proportion that the UK figures have dropped based on single sales POP, UK sales are actually down 7%. Cosmopolitan by comparison also posted a reduction of 0.29% POP whereas the actual UK sales were down 2.4%. Not all titles in the sector are guilty of only growing circulations through overseas sales, although Elle posts modest increases in their free and bulk copies, they continue to strengthen their position in the UK market by increasing UK sales POP and reducing the volume of overseas sales.
In the middle youth sector, Easy Living was the main casualty with a decline of 5.88% POP. The sector as a whole continued to show buoyancy with the previous year’s investments in editorial and fashion specifically paying off for Good Housekeeping and Women & Home, who posted increases of 5 and 4.5% respectively, further reiterating the purchasing power of this audience.
The latter 6 months of 2010 were good for the high end international fashion and lifestyle titles – Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Tatler and Vanity fair, who all posted small but consistent growths in circulation. The trend seems set to continue into 2011 with many of this set posting their biggest ever issues in the SS11 season and increased efforts to gain market share from each other by themed issues and additional supplements to the titles.
Whilst the next year will undoubtedly see significant changes to the sector with National Magazines acquisition of Hachette, the most concern is for Marie Claire, which, despite IPC’s continued editorial tweaks from reader feedback, posted its 9th successive decrease POP and the largest since Jan-June 09 with a POP drop of -5.35%.