A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Crossword sales benchmark opportunity for local small business newsagents

Crossword magazine unit sales should be at least 5% of your magazine sales in any newsagency. It’s a reasonable benchmark to target.

I say this based on data from hundreds of newsagencies: city, country, high street, shopping centre.

While there are plenty where crossword unit sales are 8% and more of all magazine unit sales, equally there are plenty at 3% or less.

Based on everything I have seen, 5% is a reasonable benchmark that anyone can attain. Businesses I have worked with have been able to list crossword sales by:

  • Installing a single column of good titles next to women’s weeklies.
  • Featuring a crossword at the counter.
  • Placing one or two crossword titles with newspapers.
  • Where possible, full face displaying crossword titles.
  • Relaying the crossword section to tell a better story.
  • Reviewing your range and expanding to serve more shoppers.
  • Mentioning crosswords from time to time on social media.

Of all the magazine segments, crosswords responds well to some love from the business. This has been the case for decades.

Check our your percentage and if you’re above 5% well done. If you’re below, take some easy steps and expect to see the segment respond positively.

Now, if you think why bother? because of the paltry margin or some other reason, I’d note for you that crosswords are the most broadly efficient magazine category in a newsagency. By efficient, I mean their value beyond the sales of the titles.

  • Crossword buyers are more likely to have other products in their basket. Products like jigsaws, cards, stationery and craft products regularly feature in baskets with crossword magazines.
  • Crossword customers are more loyal, returning for their next fix, often because you have range. This loyalty is something a smart retailer can leverage into purchases from other product categories.
  • Careful placement on the shelves can easily result in purchases of more than one title from a sub-category in a basket.
  • Crossword lovers talk to each other, they are a good word of mouth army.
  • Crossword customers love words and tend to love books, too.

While there are problems with the magazine distribution model and it is difficult for newsagents to actively manage range, the crossword segment provides an opportunity for benefits beyond the sale of crosswords themselves. We have an opportunity to engage and achieve greater value for our businesses, despite the magazine supply arrangement impediments.


Join the discussion

  1. Lance

    Is that pic in a local site Mark ?
    It looks very busy and congested…. ­čÖü


  2. Mark Fletcher

    It is Lance, taken last week.


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