A Decade In Mags: Our Top Titles Have Lost Nearly A Fifth Of Sales

Today’s *ABC* figures for consumer magazine sales figures for July to December show several individual stories – Wired UK debuted with 48,275, Private Eye is at an 18-year high.

But the big picture is one of serious decline. Taking a step back, I delved in to ABC’s archives and processed its figures (all 1,400 of them) for actual magazine purchases (as opposed to circulation, which often includes freebies and other extras) over the last nine years

The result (assuming my brain hasn’t been fried by the numbers): the UK’s top-selling 100 magazines lost 17 percent of their active sales between 2000 and 2009.

That’s 10 million fewer copies being sold in ’09 than at the start of the decade. It’s no coincidence that this happened during a 10 years which saw more proliferation of media choice than ever.

But the magazine industry’s Periodical Publishers Association trade group is heartened. It issued a press release to point out July-to-December circulation in 2009 was down “just 1.3 percent” from 2008, in what was a recession year.

“In a world of ever more free content on the TV, radio and the internet, the UK public bought well over one billion magazines in 2009 and more than 85 percent of UK adults continue to buy magazines,” the PPA says.

PPA CEO Barry McIlheney: