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UK Magazines market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Magazines market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Products covered in this report

This Report covers the full spectrum of consumer magazine segments including interest-specific, women’s glossy monthly, women’s weekly, women’s general interest, celebrity, news and current affairs, free, men’s monthly lifestyle and men’s weekly lifestyle.

The scope of this Report covers both print and digital magazines. Digital magazines can be purchased and read through a subscription management service such as Apple Newsstand, Google Play Newsstand and Kindle Magazines through dedicated title-specific apps or through a web browser.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Rebecca McGrath, a leading analyst in the Research Analyst sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Once again, overall print circulation figures do not make for pleasant reading. However the recent success of some print sectors, notably current affairs, does hint at a brighter future for some print titles than is often predicted. While magazines will obviously be investing heavily in developing and diversifying their digital offerings, they shouldn’t neglect attempts to tap into the same consumer sentiment that has brought about the print book revival Rebecca McGrath
Research Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • 5% decline in print circulation in 2017
              • Figure 1: Forecast volume of UK print magazine circulation, 2011-21
            • Top digital magazines up by 19%
              • Women’s weeklies continue to see major declines
                • Current affairs magazines defy market trend with print growth
                  • Key players
                    • Glamour magazine becomes digital first
                      • Archant introduces subscription service
                        • The Economist is the most trusted current affairs magazine
                          • Vogue maintains its position as the authority on women’s fashion
                            • The consumer
                              • Interest-specific magazines are the most popular magazine genre
                                • Figure 2: Magazine readership by genre and format, September 2017
                              • Reviews are people’s favourite magazine content
                                • Figure 3: Magazine content most enjoyed, September 2017
                              • Many still have a preference for print
                                • Figure 4: Attitudes towards magazines, September 2017
                              • More than one in four click through from social media
                                • Figure 5: Use of magazines’ social media, September 2017
                              • Events offer another touchpoint for magazines
                                • Figure 6: Magazine reader behaviour, September 2017
                              • What we think
                              • Issues and Insights

                                • Getting the most from print
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Magazines look to diversify revenue sources and brand touchpoints
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • 5% decline in print circulation in 2017
                                              • Further circulation falls forecasted
                                                • Circulation falls by 4% among top ten paid print titles
                                                  • Free print magazines are more stable
                                                    • Top digital magazines up by 19%
                                                      • Women’s weeklies continue to see major declines
                                                        • Current affairs magazines defy market trend with print growth
                                                        • Market Size and Forecast

                                                          • 5% decline in print circulation in 2017
                                                              • Figure 7: Forecast volume of UK print magazine circulation, 2011-21
                                                              • Figure 8: Forecast volume of UK print magazine circulation, 2011-21
                                                            • Forecast methodology
                                                            • Market Segmentation

                                                              • Circulation falls by 4% among top ten paid print titles
                                                                • Figure 9: Average circulation for top ten paid UK print magazines, six months to month end, 2016-17
                                                              • Free magazines are more stable
                                                                • Figure 10: Average circulation for top ten free UK print magazines, six months to month end, 2016-17
                                                              • The Economist leads the way online
                                                                • Figure 11: Average circulation for top ten UK digital magazines, six months to month end, 2016-17
                                                              • Women’s weeklies continue to see major declines
                                                                • Figure 12: Average circulation top five UK women’s weekly print magazines, six months to month end, 2016-17
                                                              • Current affairs magazines defy market trend with print growth
                                                                • Figure 13: Average circulation top five UK news and current affairs print magazines, six months to months end, 2016-17
                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Glamour magazine goes digital first
                                                                • Archant introduces subscription service
                                                                  • Vogue launches a Snapchat edition
                                                                    • Condé Nast creates new LGBTQ focused platform
                                                                      • The Economist is the most trusted current affairs magazine
                                                                        • Vogue maintains its position as the authority on women’s fashion
                                                                        • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                          • Magazines turn away from print
                                                                            • Glamour magazine reduces number of print publications to concentrate on digital
                                                                              • InStyle UK becomes digital-only
                                                                                • New print titles are still being introduced
                                                                                  • Free Courier re-launches as global paid-for magazine
                                                                                    • New magazine Happiful focuses on women’s mental health
                                                                                      • Airbnb launches print magazine with Hearst
                                                                                        • Subscriptions open the door for people to read new digital titles
                                                                                          • Archant introduces subscription service
                                                                                            • Digital magazines form part of Prime Reading
                                                                                              • Closer collaboration between magazines and social media networks
                                                                                                • Vogue launches a Snapchat edition
                                                                                                  • GQ partners with Vero
                                                                                                    • Cosmopolitan introduces influencer network
                                                                                                      • Condé Nast creates new LGBTQ focused platform
                                                                                                        • News UK expands digital presence of Style and Fabulous
                                                                                                        • Brand Research – Current Affairs Magazines

                                                                                                            • Brand map
                                                                                                              • Figure 14: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, September 2017
                                                                                                            • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Key metrics for selected brands, September 2017
                                                                                                            • Brand attitudes: The Economist has a strong reputation for offering quality
                                                                                                              • Figure 16: Attitudes, by brand, September 2017
                                                                                                            • Brand personality: The Spectator has to combat some negative perceptions
                                                                                                              • Figure 17: Brand personality – Macro image, September 2017
                                                                                                            • Private Eye has a provocative but entertaining image
                                                                                                              • Figure 18: Brand personality – Micro image, September 2017
                                                                                                            • Brand analysis
                                                                                                              • Private Eye’s fun image to aid the magazine during serious times
                                                                                                                • Figure 19: User profile of Private Eye, September 2017
                                                                                                              • The Week performs well but isn’t the most stand-out brand
                                                                                                                • Figure 20: User profile of The Week, September 2017
                                                                                                              • The Economist is the most trusted current affairs magazine
                                                                                                                • Figure 21: User profile of The Economist, September 2017
                                                                                                              • The Spectator has the lowest levels of differentiation
                                                                                                                • Figure 22: User profile of The Spectator, September 2017
                                                                                                            • Brand Research – Women’s Magazines

                                                                                                                • Brand map
                                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, September 2017
                                                                                                                • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Key metrics for selected brands, September 2017
                                                                                                                • Brand attitudes: Women feel that Cosmopolitan speaks to them
                                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Attitudes, by brand, September 2017
                                                                                                                • Brand personality: Red has a fairly stale brand image
                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Brand personality – Macro image, September 2017
                                                                                                                • Glamour has some negative associations
                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Brand personality – Micro image, September 2017
                                                                                                                • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                  • Glamour is considered fun but low-brow
                                                                                                                    • Figure 28: User profile of Glamour, September 2017
                                                                                                                  • Vogue maintains its position as the authority on women’s fashion
                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: User profile of Vogue, September 2017
                                                                                                                  • Cosmopolitan is viewed as fun and accessible
                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: User profile of Cosmopolitan, September 2017
                                                                                                                  • Red has the weakest brand image
                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: User profile of Red, September 2017
                                                                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                  • More than half of people read a print magazine
                                                                                                                    • Half of people pay for magazines
                                                                                                                      • A larger device is preferred for digital editions
                                                                                                                        • Reviews are the most popular magazine content
                                                                                                                          • Many still have a preference for print
                                                                                                                            • More than one in four clicks through from social media
                                                                                                                              • Events offer another touchpoint for Magazines
                                                                                                                              • Magazine Readership by Genre and Format

                                                                                                                                • Interest-specific magazines are the most popular magazine genre
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Magazine readership by genre and format, September 2017
                                                                                                                                • One in five reads a digital magazine
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Repertoire of magazine genres read, by format, September 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Read magazine format, by age, September 2017
                                                                                                                                • Larger devices are preferred for digital editions
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Preferred device for reading magazines, September 2017
                                                                                                                              • Paying for Magazines

                                                                                                                                • Half of people pay for magazines
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Paying for magazines, September 2017
                                                                                                                                • Subscriptions used by half of those who pay
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Subscribing to a magazine, September 2017
                                                                                                                              • Content Preferences

                                                                                                                                • Reviews are the most popular magazine content
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Magazine content most enjoyed, September 2017
                                                                                                                                • Women are most interested in stories on people (famous or not)
                                                                                                                                  • Nearly half of 65+ want quizzes and games
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Magazine content most enjoyed, by age, September 2017
                                                                                                                                • Attitudes towards Magazines

                                                                                                                                  • Many still prefer print
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Attitudes towards magazines, September 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Some interest in incorporating QR codes into print magazines
                                                                                                                                    • AR looks to move past the gimmick stage
                                                                                                                                    • Social Media Engagement with Magazines

                                                                                                                                      • More than one in four clicks through from social media
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Use of magazines’ social media, September 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Snapchat is becoming a key platform for magazines
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Use of magazine’s social media, by age, September 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Accelerated spread of negative coverage means extra care is needed
                                                                                                                                      • Magazine Reader Behaviour

                                                                                                                                        • Events offer another touchpoint for magazines
                                                                                                                                          • Causes can help build momentum around events
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Magazine reader behaviour, September 2017
                                                                                                                                          • One in three would listen to a magazine podcast
                                                                                                                                            • Integrating e-commerce into the reader experience
                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                    • Market forecast
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Forecast volume of UK print magazine circulation, 2017-22
                                                                                                                                                    • Forecast methodology