The quarterly drop follows a steep decline in 2014, when newsstand sales were disrupted by the closure of Source Interlink Distribution.
The total number of units sold at newsstands in the U.S. and Canada fell 14.2% from 141.7 million magazines in the first quarter of 2014 to 121.5 million in the first quarter of 2015, MagNet reported. The dollar figure for magazine sales dropped 8.3% from $724.4 million to $644.5 million over the same period.
MagNet noted that magazine publishers both distributed fewer magazines and ended up selling a lower proportion of these. In all, the total “draw” distributed by magazine wholesalers fell 6.8% from 466.9 million to 435.3 million, while the proportion actually sold slipped from 30.3% to 27.9%.
In addition to lower distribution volumes and declining sales efficiency, MagNet noted that a growing number of retailers are reducing the amount of space devoted to magazine sales and moving racks out of high-traffic areas, especially valuable real estate near the point of purchase.
Some retailers are dropping magazines altogether, with the number of retail accounts served by wholesalers declining by 8,000 in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2014.
Turning to specific categories, some of the biggest declines in volume of magazines sold were seen in celebrity titles, down 18%; automotive, down 18.2%; entertainment, down 17.4%; and women’s interest, down 15.4%.
Given the continuation of the trends described above, MagNet’s forecast was gloomy: “Unfortunately, we see nothing on the horizon that provides hope that newsstand sales will have a significant turnaround in the foreseeable future.”