MagNet cautioned that the figures should be treated with some caution, as comparisons may be less accurate due to the closure of Source Interlink last year and the lack of figures from Barnes & Noble, forcing it to rely on estimates in both cases.
But the overall downward trend is clear.
In the U.S., the total volume of magazines distributed by wholesalers slipped 2.6% from 805 million issues in the first half of 2014 to 784 million in the first half of 2014. However, the volume of issues sold fell even more, with an 18.5% drop from 254.5 million issues to 207.5 million over the same period.
The dollar value of these sales fell 13.9% from $1.29 billion to $1.11 billion.
Canadian newsstand sales weren’t much better, with total distribution down 16.3% to 97.7 million, issues sold down 16.8% to 29.3 million, and dollar value of sales down 13.2% to $178.7 million.
In terms of specific categories, some of the biggest drops in newsstand sales volumes were seen in crafts, down 33.1% to 2.7 million issues sold; automotive, down 26.8% to 5.7 million; sports, down 23% to 4.7 million; entertainment, down 21.6% to 6.9 million; women’s, down 20.6% to 51.9 million; and celebrity, down 18.9% to 62 million.
The situation isn’t improving the second half of the year, according to MagNet, which noted that preliminary data for July and August suggests that sales in the second half of the year may be even worse than in the first half.
On that note MagNet pointed to certain self-reinforcing negative dynamics in the marketplace, most notably many retailers’ decision to cut back on the amount of space and prominence they allocate to newsstand displays.
For the full year, MagNet forecasts total newsstand sales of around $2.5 billion, around half of the figure for 2007.