This year is proving to be another bruiser for print magazine newsstand sales, with both dollar figures and unit sales continuing to decline, according to MagNet, which tracks magazine retail performance.
According to MagNet, in dollar terms, total magazine newsstand sales for the thousand biggest titles in the U.S. and Canada fell 6.1% from $571.2 million in the second quarter of 2015 to $536.3 million in the second quarter of 2016, while the number of units sold at newsstand tumbled 10.9% from 108.5 million to 96.6 million.
For the year to date, total magazine sales fell 6.2% from $1.16 billion in the first half of 2015 to $1.09 billion in the first half of 2016. In terms of units, newsstand activity for the top thousand titles fell 10.8% from 220.4 million magazines sold to 196.7 million over the same period.
MagNet noted that these declines were consistent with the trend in prior quarters.
Analyzing sales figures for specific companies in the first quarter of the year, MagNet found that Time Inc.’s total unit sales fell 11.4% from 16.3 million to 14.4 million, while Bauer sank 10% from 24.6 million to 22.1 million.
American Media also fell 10% from 12.4 million to 11.1 million. Hearst, Meredith, Wenner, and Conde Nast also saw unit sales fall by double-digit percentages.
While the trend broadly affects most of the magazine industry, certain categories have been hit particularly hard. MagNet noted that weekly celebrity titles and women’s titles together dropped 14.3% in unit sales and 12% in dollar sales in the first half, adding they are unlikely to return to positive newsstand sales numbers.
By the same token, some categories have fared well, with titles in food and wine, games, puzzles and crosswords, recreation, lifestyle and science collectively seeing total unit sales up 3% and dollar sales up 10%.
A recent novelty, the adult coloring book category, is another bright spot for newsstand sales.