Roy Morgan Report Finds Magazine Readership Numbers Have Climbed During COVID-19

Roy Morgan Report Finds Magazine Readership Numbers Have Climbed During COVID-19
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

A Roy Morgan report has found that COVID-19 has led to a resurgence for Aussie magazines, with readers turning to print.

Across the board, magazine readership numbers have shot up according to a recent Roy Morgan Report.

It’s believed people have been reading more than usual by having more free time and an increased desire to enjoy escapist experiences. A hardly unimaginable notion when considering any sense of normalcy has been tossed aside for the better part of two years.

While it’s well known that times of crisis can act as a prerequisite for lifestyle changes, the recent meteoric surge of magazine readership has taken most pundits by surprise.

As reported in Roy Morgan a staggering 15.2million Australians read magazines in print and online formats. Perhaps even more interestingly over 11.1million Australians (aged 14+) read print magazines. Who said print media has jumped the shark?

Enjoying up to and beyond double-digit growth, categories of food and entertainment, general interest, home and garden and mass women’s Magazines enjoyed the most success in print formats. When amassed together these categories have over 17 million keen Australian readers.

Though the clear winner among this group for market share was food and entertainment with a base of 7.2million engaged Australian’s, 3 million more than the next closest category. This cooking craze is particularly noteworthy as research previously indicated that cooking skills and confidence were on a downward decline.

The spoils of great results don’t stop there. Impressively all the top 25 magazines had reported higher readership figures over the past year. This return to form is all the more stunning when accounting for complications like lockdowns, fewer retail options and supply chain issues.

Better Homes and Gardens and Australian Women’s Weekly was ranked as the most widely read paid magazines with print readership figures sitting at 1.661 million and 1.393 million respectively. Year on year this represented an 8.2 per cent rise for Better Homes and Gardens and an 11.1 increase for Australian  Women’s Weekly.

Close behind these leaders are National Geographic and Woman’s Day posted a strong 965,000 and 771,000 result correspondingly.

Retaining their place at the top of the mountain as Australia’s most widely read free magazines was Coles Magazine with a 5.132 million result and Fresh Ideas Magazine 4.661 million. However, this again was a significant uptick for both magazines with 13.8 per cent and 16.3 per cent respective readership increases.

While the usual suspects continue to have stellar numbers possibly this year’s greatest surprise was House and Garden achieving a massive 50.1 per cent growth in print readership to take 6th place in paid magazine rankings.

Other worthy mentions include (+22.5% to 708,000), Take 5 Bumper Monthly (+23.9% to 601,000) and That’s Life Mega Monthly (+31.8% to 559,000). All positive signs of a magazine industry that’s lapping up a renewed wave of support by millions and millions of Australians.

Moreover, high achievement is being enjoyed at all levels as is evident by the two smallest print magazines according to readership Halliday (32,000 readers) and Journeys (33,000 readers) enjoying double digital growth.

Roy Morgan’s CEO, Michelle Levine, said: “The strong performance for print magazines came following the nation-wide lockdown early in 2020 and shows that once freed from stay-at-home restrictions Australians were keen to return to the magazines they know and love. In addition, subsequent lockdowns have had a diminishing impact on the readership of print magazines.

“There is the chance for the same boost to spending on print magazines to happen now and during 2022 as ‘cashed-up’ Australians freed from lockdowns look for compelling and engaging content.”

The heightened appeal or print is certainly impressive but the most influential survey on magazine readership (cross-platform audiences) has also shown outstanding numbers.

Rounding off the top three magazines for total cross-platform audience metrics,, Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly have respectively recorded 3.433 million, 3.058 million and 2.935 million combined print and digital audiences.

Explaining her thoughts on why there has tremendous progress in re-connecting Australians with national titles, Roy Morgan CEO Michelle Levine said: “Today’s results show that when magazine publishers offer compelling content there is a large market of 15 million consumers who are there to ready to engage and respond.”

“Magazines have the ability to communicate complex messaging and with the massive reach of many magazines they can deliver large audiences for advertisers.”

For a list of the Top 15 magazines by print readership and Top 15 magazines by cross-platform audience, please refer to the below tables as seen on Roy Morgan’s website.

Top 15 Magazines by print readership – September 2021

Publication September 2020 September 2021 % Change
‘000s ‘000s %
Coles Magazine 4,508 5,132 13.8%
Fresh Ideas 4,008 4,661 16.3%
Better Homes & Gardens 1,535 1,661 8.2%
Bunnings Magazine 1,359 1,501 10.4%
Australian Women’s Weekly 1,254 1,393 11.1%
Open Road (NSW) 873 1,090 24.9%
National Geographic 886 965 8.9%
Woman’s Day 723 771 6.6% Magazine 578 708 22.5%
Road Ahead (Qld) 498 650 30.5%
House & Garden 429 644 50.1%
New Idea 625 627 0.3%
Take 5 Bumper Monthly 485 601 23.9%
That’s Life Mega Monthly 424 559 31.8%
That’s Life! 442 509 15.2%


Top 15 Magazines – Total Cross-Platform Audience


Print (4 weeks) Digital
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)
Total CPA
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)
Publication 12m to Sep 2021 (000’s) 12m to Sep 2021
12m to Sep 2021
(000’s) Magazine 708 2,860 3,433
Woman’s Day 1,563 1,747 3,058
Australian Women’s Weekly 1,393 1,765 2,935
New Idea 1,276 1,281 2,431
Take 5 (weekly) 852 1,698 2,416
TV Week 766 1,698 2,366
Better Homes & Gardens 1,661 686 2,262
Take 5 Bumper Monthly 601 1,698 2,198
National Geographic 965 638 1,563
Open Road 1,090 101 1,170
House & Garden 644 486 1,110
Who 323 707 1,008
Delicious 341 603 925
4X4 Australia 256 676 904
That’s Life 864 40 900

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