Roy Morgan: Magazines Find New Life As Lockdown Delivers Impressive Numbers

Roy Morgan: Magazines Find New Life As Lockdown Delivers Impressive Numbers
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Market research company, Roy Morgan has released a report that has found Australians have turned to magazines during lockdowns with magazine readership up in key categories. 

A total of 15,201,000 Australians aged 14+ (72.0 per cent) read magazines in print or online either via the web or an app, down 4 per cent, or 628,000, from a year ag. 

Food & Entertainment, Home & Garden, General Interest and Mass Women readership have increased year on year. 

Readership of print magazines was 12.0 million Australians aged 14+ (56.8 per cent), down 22 per cent from a year ago.

Although overall industry readership figures are down slightly compared to a year ago this is largely due to the closure, or suspension, of many titles during 2020 as the industry grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation-wide lockdown.

However, the print readership of several leading magazine categories increased significantly from a year ago.

These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 64,973 Australians aged 14+ in the 12 months to June 2021

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

Top 15 Magazines by print readership:


June 2020

June 2021

% Change

Coles Magazine




Fresh Ideas




Better Homes & Gardens




Bunnings Magazine




Women’s Weekly




Open Road (NSW)




National Geographic




Woman’s Day



-2.7% Magazine




House & Garden




Road Ahead (Qld)




New Idea




Take 5 Bumper Monthly




That’s Life Mega Monthly




Gardening Australia





A majority of 12 of the Top 15 magazines increased their print readership over the past year,  Better Homes & Gardens is Australia’s most widely read paid magazine with print readership up 3.5 per cent to 1,679,000 ahead of the Women’s Weekly with a print readership of 1,475,000, an increase of 18.7 per cent on a year ago.

In addition, National Geographic has retained an impressive print readership of 969,000 to be Australia’s third most widely read paid magazine ahead of Woman’s Day with a readership of 752,000.

Australia’s two most widely read free magazines are Coles Magazine with a readership of 5,061,000, an increase of 11.6 per cent from a year ago and Fresh Ideas with a readership of 4,597,000, up 15.1 per cent.

Bunnings Magazine is the third most widely read free magazine and had a large increase in readership over the last year as Australians turned to home improvement and renovations due to the COVID-19 pandemic with readership increasing by a massive 40.3 per cent to 1,629,000.

Similarly,  House & Garden increased its readership by 59.2 per cent to 640,000 and Gardening Australia, went up 48.1 per cent to 539,000.

The five most read categories of magazines:

  • Food & Entertainment (7,133,000 Australians, 33.8 per cent of the population);
  • General Interest (4,123,000 Australians, 19.5 per cent of the population);
  • Home & Garden (3,877,000 Australians, 18.4 per cent of the population);
  • Mass Women’s (3,066,000 Australians, 14.5 per cent of the population);
  • Business, Financial & Airline (1,105,000 Australians, 5.2 per cent of the population).

Food & Entertainment is again Australia’s best-performing magazine category and is now read by 7,133,000 Australians, or 33.8 per cent of the population, an increase of 696,000 (up 10.8 per cent) on a year ago and more than 3 million ahead of any other category.

The free supermarket titles remain the clear leaders in the category led by Coles Magazine with a readership of 5,061,000, an increase of 526,000 (up 11.6 per cent) on a year ago ahead of the second-placed Woolworth’s Fresh Ideas now read by 4,086,000 Australians, up 603,000 (up 15.1 per cent).

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, said: “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. 

“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.”

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Michele Levine Roy Morgan

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