The latest magazine sales audit results released overnight covering January through June 2013 compared to 2012 show a decline in sales around what I have reported here in the newsagency sales benchmark study.
Overall magazine sales are down around 8%. Car magazine sales are down on average well into double digits, girl magazines, Dolly and Girlfriend and both down more than 12%.
The Australian Woman’s Weekly has achieved what I’d call a good result, down 1.4%. In this market I expect Bauer would be happy.
Better Homes and Gardens has also achieved a good result with no change. Pacific would be happy with that.
As I wrote earlier today, frankie is the shining light with growth of more than 10%. This is interesting since frankie plays close to the Dolly and Girlfriend space.
In the weekly space, the results are not great but not a disaster considering the overall market situation: Woman’s Day down 4.2%, New Idea down 4.4%, Take 5 down 8.9%, That’s Life down 12.2%, Famous down 14.4%, NW down 6.9%,OK! Down 7% and Who down 8.9%.
I would like to see data comparing titles performance in the various retail channels and even comparing individual businesses in the newsagency channel. I’d like to see if there is migration of the magazine shopper from one channel to another. I’d also like to see how shoppers respond to the different tactics newsagents use in the category.
I have used the magazine club card loyalty program since mid 2004 and for years this helped achieve a better than average result. In February this year I switched, cold turkey, to a unique discount voucher program that front-ended loyalty. My basket data shows that this program has generated considerable incremental magazine sales for us, sales I am certain we would not have achieved.
So, I’d like to see more thorough store level analysis so the channel can understand the success of the various tactical programs being used by newsagents. I’d be happy to share my data, for the good of the channel, to see how what I do stacks up.
From where I sit the evidence is pretty strong that shoppers are over the old points based approach. They prefer a dollar value discount as a reward for above average behavior.
It would be a mistake for newsagents to see the audit numbers and feel encouraged to retreat further from the category.
I am certain we can increase magazine sales by churning shoppers from one retailer or retail channel to us. While it’s hard work, sales are there for the taking.