Roy Morgan: Magazine Readership Soars (Although Readers Aren’t Necessarily Buying Them)

Roy Morgan: Magazine Readership Soars (Although Readers Aren’t Necessarily Buying Them)

Roy Morgan today releases the latest Australian Magazine Readership results for the 12 months to March 2017, showing an overall increase in magazine readership despite recent downward trends in circulation. You can view the full results here.

Australians are spending more on experiences and less on physical things, and this includes magazines. Many industries—from retail to automotive to media—are witnessing a move away from traditional forms of ‘ownership’.

Total Print Readership Trend for Food & Entertainment and
Women’s Fashion Magazine Categories


For magazines, the decline in circulation declines reflects the decrease in physical ownership of issues. Readership, however, has not followed the same downward trend. Instead, magazine readership overall—as well as engagement with a number of categories—has been comparatively stable, demonstrating that although Australians are showing less of a need to own magazines, they remain highly engaged with magazine content.

Some 12.6 million Australians aged 14-olus (63.4 per cent) read print magazines, the latest data for the 12 months to March 2017 shows—up 2.4 per cent compared with the year before.

Looking at the longer term trends across categories, food and entertainment titles together now reach 5,848,000 Australians, more than twice the number reading magazines in this category in the 12 months to March 2013. Total print readership also increased for the categories of general interest (up 11 per cent to 4,465,000) and sports (up two percent to 371,000).

Three other categories are holding steady, each with less than six percent fewer readers compared with four years ago: Home and garden (now reaching 3,016,000 readers overall), women’s fashion (1,190,000), and business, financial and airline (1,788,000).

Two categories worth highlighting are food and entertainment and women’s fashion. In large part thanks to the continuing growth for Coles Magazine (up 17.6 percent year-on-year to 3,783,000) and Woolworth’s Fresh (up 18.2 per cent to 3,400,000), almost 5.9 million Australians are reading magazines dedicated to food and entertainment. However, also driving total category growth are Magazine (up 12.6 per cent to 597,000), Recipes+ (up 7.9 per cent to 424,000), and Delicious (up 1.1 percent to 356,000).

Total readership of women’s fashion magazines in print had been on a downward trend since 2013, falling from 1,270,000 to 1,082,000 in the 12 months to March 2016. Since then, however, the category has performed a distinct turnaround, rising 10 percent now back up close to 1.2 million.

But even more exceptional than the renewed appetite for the category’s glossy printed pages overall is that every title (excluding the niche wedding magazines) contributed to the growth. That’s right—they all gained readers over the past year: Harper’s Bazaar (up 21.8 percent to 134,000), Elle (up 18.2 percent to 156,000), Marie Claire (up 17.1 percent to 301,000), Frankie (up 14.4 percent to 365,000), InStyle (up 10.9 percent to 143,000) and Vogue Australia (up 7.3 percent to 338,000).

The print gains amongst the fashion titles are also reflected online for some (Elle and Harper’s Bazaar) but not others (Marie Claire and Vogue). New entrant in our cross-platform measure, Frankie sees its total audience reach 399,000 Australians, up 9.3 percent from its print readership.

Since our last readership release, many of Bauer’s magazine brands have consolidated their online presence under category banners such as Now to Love. The results in the cross platform table below reflect this new positioning and therefore year on year comparisons are not made.

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