It may seem a bit depressing to some that the Top 50 best-selling magazines account for a staggering 46% of the total marketshare (combination of checkout dominance, frequency, and powerful brands that consumers embrace). However, the big guys are the ones who have experienced the steepest losses since 2009.
It is encouraging to see that sales of the smaller magazines (with passionate readers in various niches) have helped distributors, wholesalers and retailers offset those declines in a significant way. Talk about reader engagement. Looks like the mainline is becoming more important than ever before.
TITLE SALES BY GROUP
However, the loss of over 1,100 Bookstores (a 12% decline) which typically generate high sell-through efficiency, is more troublesome.
On a positive note, it’s great to see Grocery, Drug and Terminal all posting gains in dealers (+1,297) which more than offset the losses in bookstore dealers (-1,113) when combined. These types of retailers of magazines have traditionally generated larger unit sales in aggregate and typically more efficiently than Convenience too.
Plus, when you add in the gains from Mass Merchandisers, SuperCenters, Newsstand and Military accounts (+2,026) the story improves yet again, as these types of stores sell product efficienctly, and often provide more retail space than Convenience.
The big whopping number is the vaguely titled Misc/Other category, which shed (-11,031) dealers, over a 29% decline from the 2008 tally.
Of the total of 15,868 dealers that have vanished since 2008, nearly 70% of them came from the Misc/Other bucket.
The devil is in the details. While the top line number is clearly worrisome, when drilling down a modified picture begins to emerge.
Sales in Canada were 12,300 copies, on a draw of 23,800, for nearly a 52% sell-through efficiency.
The average sale on the regular (January through August 2010) issues in Canada was 7,750 copies, on a draw of 23,100, for a sell-through efficiency of 33%.
Plus, the cover price was $9.99 on the SIP, as opposed to the normal price of $6.99. That’s a 43% premium priced product. And worth every penny.
• Copies sold: up 207% compared to the average issue
• Newsstand revenue: up a staggering 339%
• Efficiency: up nearly 20pts
Vertical content. Beautifully packaged. Fabulous Outcome.
That’s a winning hand!
Thanks to MAGNET, a U.S.-based data clearinghouse, part of the mystery may have been solved. (See graph below).
With dealers who carry magazines dwindling at such a pace, in both the US and Canada, is it any wonder sales are tougher to come by? This type of erosion is akin to the Global Warming syndrome…a slow and steady melting away of our future.
Fewer dealers, fewer sales. Who’da thunk it? Thanks to Doug Bennet for this link.
Newsstand sales did improve from the previous issue by 36%. However, compared to the same issue from prior year, sales were down 33%. If we look at the average sale on all of the 2010 issues that preceeded Jul/Aug, sales are only up 3% …glacial movement, unfortunately. With that said, generating free media buzz aint easy, and having the courage to take a big risk is worthy of praise. Kudos are in order!
Climate change is, sadly, just kind of depressing no matter how you dress it up….and Subject Matter is what matters most when it comes to selling copies. Even bikinis can’t always save the day.
Note to readers: some of Bullock's posts may refer to his clients.