Magazine readership up across several categories

New research from Roy Morgan shows magazines that continued to be published during 2020 are thriving, with solid readership increases across many categories with food and entertainment, general interest, home and garden and women’s magazines leading the charge.

The Roy Morgan Australian Readership Report for the 12 months to June 2021 found 12 million Australians aged over 14 (56.8%) read printed magazines, down 2.2%, from a year ago.

The study attributed the slight year on year decrease in industry readership figures to the closure, or suspension, of many titles during 2020 as the industry grappled with COVID-19 and widespread national lockdowns.

But it also noted that the good news is that the magazines that continued have resonated with new audiences during a tough year and are thriving with solid readership increases across many categories.

The print readership of several leading magazine categories increased significantly from a year ago.

Readership of the Food & Entertainment category increased 10.8 per cent to over 7.1 million, General Interest was up 6.1 per cent to over 4.1 million, Home & Garden increased substantially by 17.8 per cent to over 3.8 million and Mass Women’s was up 3.8 per cent to over 3 million.

There were also impressive increases in readership for the magazine categories covering Motoring, TV, Sports, Music & Movies and Motorcycles.

Top paid magazines

The study found that 12 of the top 15 paid magazines increased readership in the last year as Australians looked for new activities with borders closed and travel options heavily restricted.

Better Homes and Gardens is Australia’s most widely read paid magazine with print readership up 3.5% to 1.7 million. Women’s Weekly came next with 1.5m readers, marking a 18.7% increase on a year ago.

National Geographic is Australia’s third most widely read print magazine at 969,000 readers. Women’s Day came fourth at 752,000.

Top free magazines

Coles Magazine boasts an annual readership of 5.1m readers, an increase of 11.6% from a year ago. Fresh Ideas is next in line with 4.6m readers, up 15.1%.

Bunnings Magazine is the third most widely read magazine and had a large increase in readership in the last year as Australians turned to home improvements and renovations in COVID with readership up 40.3% to 1.6m.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says magazine readership has held up well during an unprecedented year as the ‘magic of magazines’ delivered a high level of engagement with consumers stuck at home during several lockdowns of major cities around Australia.

“The latest Roy Morgan readership survey shows 15.2 million Australians now read magazines whether in print or online and despite the ‘digital deluge’ of the last year it is print magazines which are clearly the favoured channel – read by 12 million people (56.8% of population),” Levine said.

“The last year has been a tough one for everyone but there have been many bright spots in the magazine industry with the print readership in several leading categories increasing strongly although the closure, or suspension, of over 20 titles during 2020 led to a slight decline in the overall industry-wide readership figure.”

A snapshot of the top printed magazines in Australian, according to latest Roy Morgan research

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