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Australians turn to magazines during lockdowns with Food & Entertainment, Home & Garden, General Interest and Mass Women readership up year on year

Total cross-platform audience includes print – average issue readership and digital – website visitation and app usage in an average 4 weeks, except for weekly titles which are in an average 7 days (denoted by *). #For additional detail on the platforms available for each magazine visit the Roy Morgan website.

Over 15.2 million Australians read magazines in print and online


A total of 15,201,000 Australians aged 14+ (72.0%) read magazines in print or online either via the web or an app, down 4 per cent, or 628,000, from a year ago according to the results released today from the Roy Morgan Australian Readership report for the 12 months to June 2021.

Readership of print magazines was 12.0 million Australians aged 14+ (56.8 per cent), down 2.2% from a year ago. These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 64,973 Australians aged 14+ in the 12 months to June 2021.


Print readership increased in several leading magazine categories

Although overall industry readership figures are down slightly compared to a year ago this is largely due to the closure, or suspension, of many titles during 2020 as the industry grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic and the nation-wide lockdown.

The good news is that many magazine titles that have continued, have resonated with new audiences during a tough year and are thriving; with solid readership increases seen across many categories.

The print readership of several leading magazine categories increased significantly from a year ago. Readership of the Food & Entertainment category increased 10.8 per cent to over 7.1 million, General Interest was up 6.1 per cent to over 4.1 million, Home & Garden increased substantially by 17.8 per cent to over 3.8 million and Mass Women’s was up 3.8 per cent to over 3 million.

There were also impressive increases in readership for the magazine categories covering Motoring, TV, Sports, Music & Movies and Motorcycles.


A majority of Australia’s Top 15 magazines increased their print readership over the past year with Better Homes & Gardens and Women’s Weekly again the most widely read paid magazines

A majority of 12 of the Top 15 magazines increased their print readership over the past year as Australians looked for new activities to partake in with borders closed and travel options heavily restricted.

Better Homes & Gardens is Australia’s most widely read paid magazine with print readership up 3.5 per cent to 1,679,000 ahead of the Women’s Weekly with a print readership of 1,475,000, an increase of 18.7 per cent on a year ago.

In addition, National Geographic has retained an impressive print readership of 969,000 to be Australia’s third most widely read paid magazine ahead of Woman’s Day with a readership of 752,000.

Coles Magazine & Fresh most widely read while Bunnings Magazine read by over 1.6m

Australia's two most widely read free magazines are Coles Magazine with a readership of 5,061,000, an increase of 11.6 per cent from a year ago and Fresh Ideas with a readership of 4,597,000, up 15.1 per cent.

Bunnings Magazine is the third most widely read free magazine and had a large increase in readership over the last year as Australians turned to home improvement and renovations due to the COVID-19 pandemic with readership increasing by a massive 40.3 per cent to 1,629,000.

The two magzines in the top 15 to have  the largest increase in readership compared to a year ago are both in the same home improvement focused area of interest with House & Garden increasing its readership by 59.2 per cent to 640,000 and Gardening Australia up 48.1 per cent to 539,000.

Other leading magazines to perform strongly include Road Ahead in Queensland (+26.5 per cent to 626,000), Take 5 Bumper Monthly (+7.4 per cent to 569,000) and That’s Life Mega Monthly (+36.0 per cent to 563,000).

Top 15 Magazines by print readership – June 2021

Publication

June 2020

June 2021

% Change

‘000s

‘000s

%

Coles Magazine

4,535

5,061

11.6%

Fresh Ideas

3,994

4,597

15.1%

Better Homes & Gardens

1,622

1,679

3.5%

Bunnings Magazine

1,161

1,629

40.3%

Women’s Weekly

1,243

1,475

18.7%

Open Road (NSW)

850

1,066

25.4%

National Geographic

982

969

-1.3%

Woman’s Day

773

752

-2.7%

Taste.com.au Magazine

577

657

13.9%

House & Garden

402

640

59.2%

Road Ahead (Qld)

495

626

26.5%

New Idea

689

614

-10.9%

Take 5 Bumper Monthly

530

569

7.4%

That’s Life Mega Monthly

414

563

36.0%

Gardening Australia

364

539

48.1%

Full Magazine Readership Results available to view here.

The five most read categories of magazines
  • Food & Entertainment (7,133,000 Australians, 33.8% of the population);
  • General Interest (4,123,000 Australians, 19.5% of the population);
  • Home & Garden (3,877,000 Australians, 18.4% of the population);
  • Mass Women’s (3,066,000 Australians, 14.5% of the population);
  • Business, Financial & Airline (1,105,000 Australians, 5.2% of the population).
Food & Entertainment magazines number one with total readership of over 7 million

Food & Entertainment is again Australia's best performing magazine category and is now read by 7,133,000 Australians, or 33.8% of the population, an increase of 696,000 (up 10.8 per cent) on a year ago and more than 3 million ahead of any other category.

The free supermarket titles remain the clear leaders in the category led by Coles Magazine with a readership of 5,061,000, an increase of 526,000 (up 11.6 per cent) on a year ago ahead of the second-placed Woolworth’s Fresh Ideas now read by 4,086,000 Australians, up 603,000 (up 15.1 per cent).

Three widely read magazines grew their readership impressively over the past year led by Delicious, up a large 56.7 per cent to a readership of 362,000, Australian Gourmet Traveller, up 37 per cent to a readership of 248,000 and Taste.com.au Magazine up by 13.9 per cent to a readership of 657,000.

Other titles to increase their readership include Gourmet Traveller Wine up 43.9 per cent to a readership of 82,000 and Halliday was up 3.4 per cent to a readership of 32,000.

General Interest magazines increase readership by over 230,000 to over 4 million

4,123,000 Australians, or 19.5% of the population, read at least one of the general interest magazine titles. Seven general interest magazines increased their readership from a year ago and there were two new titles in the category Vacations & Travel and Australian Country.

National Geographic was easily the most widely read paid magazine in the category with a readership of 969,000 ahead of the second-placed Australian Geographic with a readership of 478,000.

Several magazines recorded large increases in readership in the category led by one of the most widely read in the category, Reader’s Digest Australia, up 13.5 per cent to a readership of 446,000. Other magazines to increase their readership include Australian Traveller, up 79.4% to 122,000, RM Williams Outback which increased by 68.8 per cent to 265,000 and Cosmos up 30.4 per cent to 73,000.

There were also strong performances by two motoring magazines: Open Road (NSW) read by 1,066,000 (up 25.4 per cent) and Road Ahead (Qld) now read by 626,000 (up 26.5 per cent).

For the new magazines in the category the readership numbers are impressive with Vacations & Travel achieving a readership of 127,000 and Australian Country read by 78,000.

Home & Garden magazines are the stand out category with a big jump in readership

Home & Garden magazines have significantly grown their audience over the past year up by 17.8 per cent to 3,877,000 Australians – easily the largest jump of any of the leading magazine categories.

All eleven continuing magazines in the category increased their readership compared to a year ago led by Australia’s most widely read paid magazine Better Homes & Gardens (BH&G) with a readership of 1,679,000, up 3.5 per cent on a year ago.

The second most widely read is Bunnings Magazine which is now read by over 1.6 million, following an increase of 40.3 per cent on a year ago, and is the only other magazine in the category with a readership of over 1 million.

There were several other widely read magazines to grow their readership strongly including House & Garden, up by 59.2 per cent to 640,000, Gardening Australia up 48.1 per cent to 539,000, Home Beautiful up 26 per cent to 330,000 and Vogue Living up a massive 81.8 per cent to 260,000.

Also growing their readership over the last year were Country Style, up 16.8 per cent to 243,000, Belle, up 22.1 per cent to 127,000, Home Design, up 49.4 per cent to 121,000, Inside Out, up 10 per cent to 110,000 and Real Living, up 6 per cent to 89,000.

There were four new magazines in the category led by Organic Gardener with an impressive readership of 166,000, Grand Designs Australia with a readership of 151,000, Kitchens & Bathrooms scoring a readership of 100,000 and Backyard & Outdoor Living with a readership of 73,000.

Mass Women’s magazines growth driven by Women’s Weekly, That’s Life & Take 5 magazines

Mass Women’s magazines are now read by 3,066,000 Australians equal to 14.5 per cent of the population, an increase of 111,000 (up 3.8 per cent) on a year ago.

Easily the most widely read magazine in the category is Australian Women’s Weekly with a readership of 1,475,000, a stunning increase of 232,000 (up 18.7 per cent) on a year ago. Other widely read magazines in the category include Woman’s Day with a readership of 752,000 and New Idea with a readership of 614,000, although both were down slightly on a year ago.

Also growing strongly in the category were That’s Life Mega Monthly which grew its readership by 36 per cent to 563,000 and That’s Life, up 9.8 per cent to 492,000.

The Take 5 magazines also grew their readership over the last year led by Take 5 Bumper Monthly, up by 7.4 per cent to 569,000 and Take 5 (Weekly) up by 6.5 per cent to 490,000.

There was also a new magazine in the category, New Idea Retro, which has a readership of 127,000.

Money Magazine and Qantas Magazine are the top performers in the Business magazine category

Overall the Business, Financial and Airline magazines readership experienced a decrease of 4.7 per cent over the last year to 1,105,000 (5.2% of the population).

Despite the overall decline, two magazines in the category did increase their readership over the last year led by Money Magazine which increased readership by an incredible 134.6 per cent to 244,000 as Australians increased their rate of saving to its highest levels since the early 1970s.

Also increasing strongly was Qantas Magazine which remains the most widely read magazine in the category with 367,000 readers, an increase of 41.2 per cent on a year ago.

Motoring, Sports and TV magazine categories increase readership

There was growth in several smaller magazine categories with the Motoring, Sports and TV magazine categories all increasing their readership in the 12 months to June 2021.

Motoring magazines are the seventh most widely read magazine category and experienced growth of 16.6 per cent over the past year for an overall readership of 820,000, or 3.9% of the population with all six magazines in the category increasing their readership over the past year.

The magazines to increase their readership included 4x4 Australia, up 75.8 per cent to 262,000, Wheels magazine, up 48.1 per cent to 237,000, Street Machine, up 15.2 per cent to 220,000, Just Cars, up 18.2 per cent to 182,000, Unique Cars, up 26.2 per cent to 164,000 and Motor, up 21.3 per cent to 131,000.

Sports magazines also had a good year and more than doubled category readership, up by 134.6 per cent on a year ago to 441,000 on the back of strong performances from two golfing magazines. The readership of Golf Australia more than tripled, up by 212.8 per cent to 147,000 and Australian Golf Digest more than doubled its readership to 139,000, up by 178 per cent on a year ago.

Notably, and despite a heavily disrupted season, the AFL Record is still the most widely read magazine in the category with a readership of 200,000, an increase of 7.5 per cent on a year ago.

TV magazines have also experienced a large increase in readership during the COVID-19 pandemic with total readership in the category increasing by 28.5 per cent to 740,000. Readership of the TV Week magazine increased by 62.5 per cent to 377,000 and readership was up 97 per cent to 333,000 for the Foxtel Magazine.

Other magazines to perform strongly included Vogue Australia, up 2 per cent to 351,000, Men’s Health up 23 per cent to 241,000, PlayStation up 129.9 per cent to 200,000, Diabetic Living, up 17.1 per cent to 178,000, Australian Motorcycle News up 30 per cent to 104,000 and PC PowerPlay up 79.2 per cent to 86,000.

Are Media’s ‘Now to Love’ digital platform is read by 1.8 million Australians

The results for the 12 months to June 2021 for Magazine Publishers are impressive with the 4 week cross-platform audience data showing Are Media’s ‘Now to Love’ website attracting an audience of 1.8 million Australians in an average 4 week period. Are Media’s ‘Now to Love’ platform allows advertisers to reach their audience in new ways with innovative online offerings.

Many of Are Media’s magazine brands (including Australian Women’s Weekly, Woman’s Day, Take 5 and TV Week) have consolidated their online presence on the ‘Now to Love’ platform which is adding incremental reach to already strong print based publications, including Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s Weekly which both reach cross-platform audiences over 3 million readers in an average 4 week period. 

There are several other magazines with large cross-platform audiences including News Corp’s Taste.com.au Magazine with a total audience of over 3.3 million, Are Media’s New Idea with over 2.4 million and Better Home & Gardens with well over 2.3 million readers in an average 4 weeks in the 12 months to June 2021.

Top 15 Magazines – Total Cross-Platform Audience

Print (4 weeks)

Digital
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)

Total CPA
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)

Publication

12m to June 2021 (000's)

12m to June 2021
(000's)

12m to June 2021
(000's)

Taste.com.au Magazine

657

2,801

3,339

Woman's Day

1,532

1,847

3,112

Australian Women's Weekly

1,475

1,851

3,096

Take 5 (weekly)

831

1,791

2,493

TV Week

757

1,791

2,448

New Idea

1,251

1,328

2,444

Better Homes & Gardens

1,679

731

2,318

Take 5 Bumper Monthly

569

1,791

2,270

National Geographic

969

682

1,609

Open Road

1,066

113

1,158

House & Garden

640

490

1,108

Delicious

362

689

1,029

Who

324

694

997

4X4 Australia

262

647

890

That's Life

845

49

887

Full Magazine Total Cross-Platform Audience results available to view here.

Total cross-platform audience includes print – average issue readership and digital – website visitation and app usage in an average 4 weeks, except for weekly titles which are in an average 7 days (denoted by *). #For additional detail on the platforms available for each magazine visit the Roy Morgan website.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says readership of magazines has held up well during an unprecedented year as the ‘Magic of Magazines’ delivered a high level of engagement with consumers stuck at home during several lockdowns of major cities around Australia:

“The latest Roy Morgan readership survey shows 15.2 million Australians now read magazines whether in print or online and despite the ‘digital deluge’ of the last year it is print magazines which are clearly the favoured channel – read by 12 million people (56.8% of population).

“The last year has been a tough one for everyone but there have been many bright spots in the magazine industry with the print readership in several leading categories increasing strongly although the closure, or suspension, of over 20 titles during 2020 led to a slight decline in the overall industry-wide readership figure.

“Four-out-of-five of the leading categories increased their readership over the last year including Food & Entertainment, up 10.8 per cent to 7,133,000, General Interest, up 6.1 per cent to 4,123,000, Home & Garden, up 17.8 per cent to 3,877,000 and Mass Women’s, up 3.8 per cent to 3,066,000.

“In addition to the leading categories there were also increases in readership in several other categories including TV, Sports, Motoring, Motorcycles and Music & Movies magazines.

“Readership of the most widely read magazines was a big part of the story with 12 of the top 15 most widely read magazines increasing their readership over the last year led by Australia’s most widely read paid magazine Better Homes & Gardens (BH&G) which increased its readership by 3.5 per cent to an impressive 1,679,000.

“The theme of people spending more time engaging in home improvement projects was a strong one driving magazine readership in the year to June 2021 with strong increases for House & Garden (up 59.2 per cent to 640,000), Gardening Australia (up 48.1 per cent to 539,000) and the free Bunnings Magazine (up 40.3 per cent to 1,629,000). 

“The results show that when magazine publishers offer compelling content there is a large market of consumers – over 15 million – who are there to ready to engage and respond.  Magazines have the ability to communicate complex messaging and with the massive reach of many magazines can deliver large audiences for advertisers.

“Although the current lockdowns are frustrating, the experience from a year ago is instructive. After the lockdowns of 2020 ended Australians emerged with cash to spend that was saved up during the period when they were confined to their homes. The same phenomenon is likely going to occur again with consumers in NSW and Victoria forced to save money now that will be there to spend towards the end of the year and into the first half of 2022.

“This provides a clear opportunity to magazines to set the agenda for what activities, travel ideas, experiences and consumer goods those from NSW and Victoria will look forward to doing over the summer months when the current lockdowns finally end.” 

Print
(4 weeks)

Digital
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)

Total CPA
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)

Publication

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

Adelaide Advertiser

894

1,160

1,725

Canberra Times

205

735

908

Courier-Mail

1,564

1,768

2,913

Daily Telegraph

2,485

3,027

4,879

Financial Review

1,212

2,298

3,295

Herald Sun

2,571

2,838

4,562

Mercury

158

299

430

Newcastle Herald

235

320

542

Sydney Morning Herald

2,012

7,683

8,519

The Age

1,585

5,186

5,990

The Australian

3,047

2,632

5,092

The Saturday Paper

511

359

846

West Australian

1,203

Print
(4 weeks)

Digital
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)

Total CPA
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)

Publication

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

Adelaide Advertiser

894

1,160

1,725

Canberra Times

205

735

908

Courier-Mail

1,564

1,768

2,913

Daily Telegraph

2,485

3,027

4,879

Financial Review

1,212

2,298

3,295

Herald Sun

2,571

2,838

4,562

Mercury

158

299

430

Newcastle Herald

235

320

542

Sydney Morning Herald

2,012

7,683

8,519

The Age

1,585

5,186

5,990

The Australian

3,047

2,632

5,092

The Saturday Paper

511

359

846

West Australian

1,203

Print
(4 weeks)

Digital
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)

Total CPA
(4 weeks)
(incl. Apple News)

Publication

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

12m to Mar 2021
(000's)

Adelaide Advertiser

894

1,160

1,725

Canberra Times

205

735

908

Courier-Mail

1,564

1,768

2,913

Daily Telegraph

2,485

3,027

4,879

Financial Review

1,212

2,298

3,295

Herald Sun

2,571

2,838

4,562

Mercury

158

299

430

Newcastle Herald

235

320

542

Sydney Morning Herald

2,012

7,683

8,519

The Age

1,585

5,186

5,990

The Australian

3,047

2,632

5,092

The Saturday Paper

511

359

846

West Australian

1,203