Roy Morgan Research
November 30, 2020

2 million Australians are now reading puzzle magazines – and over a million of them are Millennials & Gen Z

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8588
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New research from Roy Morgan shows puzzle magazines are now read by 2 million Australians aged 14+ in an average month, a significant increase of 440,000 (+28.2%) from a year ago.

Leading puzzle magazines are often closely associated with a higher circulation magazine such as Take 5, Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens, That’s Life and New Idea and help to raise the profile, and readership, of the primary magazine.

Leading puzzle magazines measured include Take 5 Mega Puzzler, Take 5 Pocket Puzzler, Australian Women’s Weekly Puzzle Book, Woman’s Day Superpuzzler, Better Homes and Gardens Puzzle Book, That’s Life Bumper Puzzle, That’s Life Puzzler on the Go, New Idea Jumbo Puzzler, Mr. Wisdom’s Whopper and Lovatts Puzzle Magazines.

Women are the biggest readers of puzzle magazines, but men are up most from a year ago

Women are the most avid readers of puzzle magazines and are now read by 1,242,000 women, up 172,000 (+16.1%) from a year ago. However, readership of puzzle magazines by men has increased far faster and is up by 265,000 (+55%) to 748,000.

Roy Morgan’s readership figures are based on personal interviews with over 50,000 Australians over the last 12 months including around 4,000 interviews each month. The full Roy Morgan September 2020 magazine readership figures are available to view here.

Readership of puzzle magazines by Gender & Generations: 2020 (red) vs. 2019 (blue)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April – Sept. 2019, n=24,557, April – Sept. 2020, n= 33,801. Base: Australians 14+.

Biggest growth of puzzle magazine readership by age is amongst youngest generations

The strong growth in readership of puzzle magazines has been driven by the two youngest generations with 541,000 Millennials now reading puzzle magazines, up 262,000 (+93.9%) from a year ago, and 520,000 Gen Z now reading puzzle magazines, up 228,000 (+78.2%) on a year ago.

The nation-wide lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 has provided a definite boost to readership of puzzle magazines as younger Australians in particular have sought new activities to pass the time while confined to their homes.

There has also been growth among Gen X with 309,000 now reading Puzzle Magazines, up 20,000 (+10.5%) from a year ago, but older generations have not seen growth over the last year.

A year ago, Baby Boomers were the biggest readers of Puzzle Magazines, but this has fallen slightly from a year ago to 438,000, down 21,000 (-4.5%). There has been an even bigger decline amongst the older Pre-Boomers down 62,000 (-25.4%) to a readership of 182,000 in this generation.

Take 5 Mega Puzzler and Women’s Weekly Puzzle Book are the top puzzle magazines

A look at the leading puzzle magazine titles shows that Take 5 Mega Puzzler is the leader with a readership of 394,000 ahead of second-placed Women’s Weekly Puzzle Book with a readership of 337,000 and Woman’s Day Superpuzzler with a readership of 322,000.

The two puzzle magazines to experience the largest growth from a year ago are Woman’s Day Superpuzzler, up by 120,000 (+59.6%) and Women’s Weekly Puzzle Book up by 103,000 (+43.7%).

Readership of leading puzzle magazines: September 2020

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April – September 2020, n= 33,801. Base: Australians 14+.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says puzzle magazines have seen clear growth in 2020 as Australians dealt with an unprecedented nation-wide lockdown and were forced to look for new activities to pass the time:

“New Roy Morgan research shows puzzle magazines have been one of the big winners out of the COVID-19 shutdowns during 2020 with readership increasing a substantial 440,000 from a year ago to almost 2 million – led by growth in the key demographic groups of Millennials and Gen Z.

“Readership of puzzle magazines by Millennials increased a stunning 93.9% from a year ago to 541,000 making Australians aged 29-44 the largest market for the sector. Close behind were their younger counterparts in Gen Z for which readership increased 78.2% to 520,000.

“These younger demographics now comprise over 50% of the readership of puzzle magazines – up from just over a third a year ago. As restrictions continue to ease in Australia and life returns to at least a ‘COVID-normal’ the publishers of puzzle magazines will need to work extra hard to retain their new found audience.

“The lack of options for things to do during the nation-wide lockdown, and the extended Victorian lockdown from early July until the last week of October, forced Australians to explore new activities to fill up their days. There is no guarantee these new habits – including overcoming the challenges of a puzzle magazine - will endure when a wider array of choices is available to partake in. On the other hand perhaps the simple pleasure of puzzles – either solo or shared may have become a part of the younger cohorts rituals.

“Take 5 Mega Puzzler has been Australia’s most widely read puzzle magazine for some time now with a readership of 394,000 barely unchanged on a year ago but there are new challengers in hot pursuit of the number one spot. The biggest increases are for closest challengers Women’s Weekly Puzzle Book, up 43.7% to a readership of 337,000 and Woman’s Day Superpuzzler, up 59.6% to a readership of 322,000.

“As well as these top-line readership figures Roy Morgan collects in-depth data on Australia’s puzzle magazine readers that provides publishers and advertisers with the ability to precisely target existing and potential customers.”

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Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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