Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

US The Magazine Reader Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the The Magazine Reader 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?

Covered in this Report

This Report explores the role of magazine reader habits, including motivations for purchase, the role of sample copies and discounts in driving subscription, attitudes and responses to ads, and the use of ancillary magazine properties such as websites. Subjects include trust in content and interest in ads, special editions, and unique ad formats.

Definition

For the purposes of this Report, magazines consist of fixed pieces of editorial content and ads delivered on a specified weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual date. Use of print or digital content released on a daily or fluctuating basis, including websites, digital video, and social media properties are also explored as long as they are related to a magazine. Newspapers are discussed only as a competing source of media. Sunday magazines distributed with a newspaper are excluded from this Report. The focus of this Report is on adult usage of English-language titles, with Mintel’s survey conducted in English among adults age 18+.

What you need to know

The plight of print publications in the 21st century has been much publicized, and remains ongoing. Total print and digital copies sold fell 21% from 2010-17, and as a result, ad sales have fallen 34% from 2014-18. However, there remain bright spots for the industry, including the successful emergence of digital brands that offer a variety of content online – some 44% of all adults have engaged with a magazine’s digital property (such as a website or a video) in the past month.

Too, it’s within the realm of possibility that an uptick in circulation may be seen if publishers are willing to focus on further reducing subscription costs – the Report finds that about half of all magazine readers sometimes commit to a subscription after receiving a free copy of a magazine or a special offer discounting subscription price, including 61% of fashion magazine readers in iGeneration, Millennials, and Generation X, as well as 58% of magazine readers who fall in the Baby Boomers, WWII, and Swing generations.

Boosting base rates, even if this means reducing them to below the cost of circulation, may be cost-effective in total if the true value of the magazine ad becomes better understood by buyers – 77% of readers have positive responses to ads, and 31% have made a purchase as a result of one. These response rates dwarf those seen in other Mintel media Reports, where, for example, banner ads have resulted in a purchase only by between 11% and 17% of all viewers (depending on the ad format).

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Billy Hulkower, a leading analyst in the Technology sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The plight of print publications in the 21st century has been much publicized, and remains ongoing. Total print and digital copies sold fell from 2010-17, and as a result, ad sales have fallen. However, there remain bright spots for the industry, including the successful emergence of digital brands that offer a variety of content online. Billy Hulkower
Senior Technology Analyst

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • The issues
            • Declining audience
              • Figure 1: Use of at least two magazines in the past six months, 2012-18
            • Double digit declines in ad sales 2017-18
              • Figure 2: US print ad sales of magazines, at current prices, 2014-18
            • Massive competition for digital ad dollars
              • Figure 3: US ad spending by type of media, 2018 and 2022
            • The opportunities
              • Samples and discounts spark subscriptions
                • Figure 4: Subscribing to magazine subsequent to a free copy or special offer – CHAID tree output, May 2018
              • Combining the right demographics with titles advance digital subscriptions
                • Figure 5: How magazines are read – CHAID Tree output, May 2018
              • Top ad responses in media
                • Figure 6: Attitudes to magazine ads, May 2018
              • Nearly half of adults engage with magazines’ digital properties
                • Figure 7: Use of magazines’ digital properties in past month, May 2018
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • Annual ad sales decreasing rapidly
                  • Massive audience spread across array of subjects
                    • Increasing digital spend pinches pockets for print
                      • Magazines’ digital properties succeeding
                      • Market Size

                        • Rapid decline in print ads mitigated only slightly by digital boost
                          • Figure 8: US Print ad sales of magazines, at current prices, 2014-18
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Diverse range of topics creates audience of 225 million
                          • Figure 9: Types of magazines read, May 2018
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Marketers squeezed for ad dollars by other media
                          • Figure 10: US ad spending by type of media, 2018 and 2022
                      • Market Factors

                        • Sites and apps offer similar content
                          • In their own words:
                              • Figure 11: Use of online-only news content, May 2018
                            • Creating unique identities in digital properties
                              • Figure 12: Use of magazines’ digital properties in past month, May 2018
                          • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                            • Half subscribe after receiving discount or free copy
                              • Readers of multiple titles in decline
                                • Digital subscriptions link with categories
                                • What’s Working?

                                  • Samples and discounts propel subscriptions
                                    • Figure 13: Subscribing subsequent to receipt of a free copy or special offer – CHAID tree output, May 2018
                                • What’s Struggling?

                                  • Number of magazines read in decline
                                    • Figure 14: Use of at least two magazines in the past six months, 2012-18
                                  • Moving from print to digital rocky
                                    • In their own words…
                                        • Figure 15: Magazines with high levels of digital subscription, by type of magazine, May 2018
                                        • Figure 16: Magazines with low levels of digital subscription, by type of magazine, May 2018
                                    • What’s Next?

                                      • Younger generations carry digital subscriptions forward
                                        • Figure 17: How magazines are read – CHAID tree output, May 2018
                                      • Promoting digital to digital readers
                                        • Figure 18: Following a magazine out of print circulation into digital, among all magazine readers, May 2018
                                        • Figure 19: Following a magazine out of print circulation into digital, among current digital readers, May 2018
                                      • Science aligns with digital
                                        • Figure 20: Share of readers accessing magazine by digital subscription, by type of magazine, May 2018
                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                      • Just two categories read on average
                                        • Get it while it’s cheap
                                          • Three quarters respond to ads favorably
                                          • Number of Magazine Types Read

                                            • Ads for everyday goods may see a better return
                                              • Figure 21: Number of types of magazines read – Mean, by household income, May 2018
                                            • Diverse interests among Hispanic Millennials
                                              • Figure 22: Number of types of magazines read – Mean, by generation and Hispanic origin, May 2018
                                            • One magazine leads to another
                                              • Figure 23: Number of types of magazines read – Mean, by area of residence, May 2018
                                          • Buying and Subscribing

                                            • Discounts beat special editions
                                              • Travel compels a quarter to purchase
                                                • In their own words:
                                                    • Figure 24: Attitudes to buying and subscribing, May 2018
                                                  • Discounts matter to high-income groups…
                                                    • Figure 25: Attitudes to buying and subscribing, by household income, May 2018
                                                  • …but it may be because the magazines are less valued
                                                    • Figure 26: Attitudes to magazine ads by household income, May 2018
                                                  • Women note covers, distrust content
                                                    • Figure 27: Attitudes to buying and subscribing, by gender and age, May 2018
                                                    • Figure 28: Trust in magazine content, by gender, May 2018
                                                  • Sticking by the Hispanic audience
                                                    • Figure 29: Attitudes to buying and subscribing, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2018
                                                • Response to Ads

                                                  • High levels of purchase in response to magazine ads
                                                    • Figure 30: Response to magazine ads, May 2018
                                                  • Magazines reaching women effectively
                                                    • Figure 31: Response to magazine ads by gender and age, May 2018
                                                  • Moms buy into products advertised
                                                    • Figure 32: Response to magazine ads by parental status, May 2018
                                                  • Nine in 10 Hispanics respond favorably
                                                    • Figure 33: Response to magazine ads by race and Hispanic origin, May 2018
                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                  • Data sources
                                                    • Sales data
                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                        • Consumer qualitative research
                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                              • Terms
                                                              • Appendix – CHAID Methodology and Table Outputs

                                                                • CHAID Methodology
                                                                  • Figure 34: How magazines are read – CHAID – Table output, May 2018
                                                                  • Figure 35: Buying/subscribing – CHAID table output, May 2018
                                                              • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                • Buying and subscribing
                                                                  • Figure 36: Attitudes to buying and subscribing, by parental status, May 2018
                                                                • Response to ads
                                                                  • Figure 37: Response to magazine ads by household income, May 2018
                                                                  • Figure 38: Response to magazine ads by area of residence, May 2018
                                                                • Number of types of magazines read
                                                                  • Figure 39: Number of types of magazines read – Mean, by age, May 2018
                                                                  • Figure 40: Number of types of magazines read – Mean, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2018