6 surprising stats about magazine media consumption

By SfG Network

For business leaders in the media and publishing industries seeking a state-of-the-industry overview complete with the latest research and data, there are few sources as robust as the annual Factbook released by MPA — The Association of Magazine Media.

The 2019 MPA Magazine Media Factbook contains compelling findings about magazine readership habits and trends that point toward the advantages of print media subscriptions.

“In a media world that is always looking to leverage the advantage of the latest data, the pattern is clear: magazine media’s vitality for advertisers and consumers is proven time and time again,” said Linda Thomas Brooks, MPA’s president and CEO in a press release.

Let’s dive into some of the interesting stats media and publishing professionals should know:

1. The number of new print magazines to launch is growing

MPA reported nearly 200 new print consumer magazines with at least a quarterly frequency launched in 2019, marking a 46% increase from the previous year and bringing the total number of publications up to 7,218.

2. Adults of all ages enjoy and prefer reading print media

While 91% of all adults read magazines, those aged 35 and younger are more likely to read magazines (93-94%). In addition, 73% of adults agreed that reading a magazine or book in print format is more enjoyable than reading on a device.

3. Magazine audiences are growing across the board

On average, magazine brands are experiencing continued, positive audience growth. The top performers by category were:

  • News and information magazines (11%).
  • Women’s fashion and beauty magazines (8%).
  • Current events and political commentary magazines (8%).

Pile of magazines.

4. Readers increasingly connect with magazine brands across social media

Across 240 magazine brands, the MPA Factbook calculated a total of 1.1 billion Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Page follows. While Facebook Pages took up nearly half (47%) of the overall share of social media follows, Instagram’s share (29%) gained two percentage points compared to the previous year. Additionally, magazine brands on Instagram gained 24.5 million followers in the first quarter alone.

5. Consumers trust traditional media sources just as much as search engine results

When seeking out news and other information, consumers gave both traditional media and search engines a 65% trust score. Meanwhile, social media only received a 49% trust score.

Readers find magazine content to be more inspiring, poignant, mood-boosting, relevant and truthful than websites. And, compared to website use, more readers turn to magazines for:

  • Discovering and getting inspired to purchase new products.
  • Learning about and trying new things.
  • Gathering information and conversation topics.
  • Finding information that aids in decision-making.
  • Relaxing and winding down.

6. Magazine media brands see higher engagement on social media

In a comparison of engagement across magazine and non-magazine media brands, the report concluded that “magazine media brands are the original (and still most powerful) influencers.” The social media engagement factor (calculated as the number of followers’ social media actions per brand post) earned by magazine publishers on Instagram was 4,500, compared to just 2,604 for non-magazine brands.

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