Canadian Publishing Industry News
16 January 2018,     TORONTO
Retail Magazines Sales Study Released
Retail Magazine Sales Remain Strong
Retail Magazine Sales Remain Strong
A new national survey of shoppers and retailers conducted for Magazines Canada found that Canadians of all ages enjoy browsing for and buying magazines on shopping trips. The study shows that actual consumer behaviour around magazine reading and buying makes a compelling business case for magazines at retail. Retail stores that have maintained magazine space and selection report that they have maintained sales. 
“This is the first new data we’ve had in some time on how Canadians choose and pay for magazine content in the marketplace,” said Matthew Holmes, Magazines Canada’s CEO. “It tells us that magazines bring great value to the retail environment: from the impulse to buy something extra, to the conversion rate compared with other categories, to the shopper’s overall satisfaction with their trip. And consumers who read magazines also follow through on the advertising and products they encounter there as well—reaffirming magazines’ unique ability to inspire and satisfy consumers.”
Key Findings from the Research
Reading frequency: 50% of survey respondents read a magazine in print format at least once a week, while 28% read digital editions with the same frequency. Survey respondents are also frequent newspaper and book readers. Four in 10 watch movies at home at least once a week.
Buying frequency: 41% of respondents buy one or more magazines per month—more often than the 26% who purchase books this often. Magazines also outperform newspapers, greeting cards and books with in-store conversion from awareness to final purchase. Average purchase frequency is higher in Quebec. Purchase frequency is similar among all age groups except those age 18–34, who buy less often.
People who pay for magazines—at retail or by subscribing—tend to read them more often. Subscribers purchase magazines at retail almost as often as do non-subscribers, suggesting that a subscription does not replace single-copy purchases. A minority of readers (35%) report accessing only free magazines, such as pass-along or public place copies.
Readers buy magazines at a variety of locations: 56% at grocery stores, 44% at discount mass merchants, 41% at drug stores and 24% at book stores. Other locations named by 31% of survey respondents are convenience stores, newsstands and gas stations.
Browsing at the newsstand is an in-person, tactile experience that’s not possible online. It’s an important route to discovery of new magazines and new interests. On average, survey respondents browsed magazines during 3.5 of their last 10 shopping trips, purchasing a magazine on 1.1 of these trips. Most commonly, buyers mentioned front covers as purchase motivations.
Retailers typically carry a relatively small selection of Canadian magazines, yet shoppers demonstrate a strong appetite for Canadian content. In many stores, Canadian magazines outsell their U.S.-based counterparts. In 2017, Canada 150 specials in particular were very popular.
The research found a correlation between paid media and awareness of its origin. Readers who pay for magazine content know whether it’s Canadian or not.
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