This audit welcomes niche bi-monthly magazines Frankie (Morrison Media) and RUSSH (Rush Publishing) into the audit fold, with average monthly sales of 29,135 and 23,256 respectively.
With more losses than gains in the women's lifestyle and fashion category, it's an advertisers market in Glossy Land. The stilettos will no doubt be out as editors and ad managers vie for ad dollars in a depressed market. Still, Marie Claire and Shop Til You Drop seem to be most resilient, while, despite losing sales, The Australian Women's Weekly, Cosmo and Cleo remain on the top-20 sellers list.
Predictably, the gossip weeklies are feeling the credit pinch at checkout counters, though with a slight sales rebound, Famous, at $3.5o, is the bargain buy du jour for those needing an escape via the celebrity mag express.
On the homemaker, health and foodie front, Better Homes & Gardens is going gangbusters, while Women's Health and Health Smart are dominating the category devoted to our physical wellbeing and more Aussies seek out recipe inspiration via delicious., Australian Healthy Food Guide, Australian Good Food, Donna Hay and Diabetic Living, which all experienced circulation gains.
Herewith a category circulation breakdown...
THE FASHION & WOMEN'S LIFESTYLE MONTHLIES
Shop Til You Drop (+5%): new editor Justine Cullen must be ACP's flavour of the month, with her title posting a 5% year-on-year circulation rise, though the mag is making amends for its June 2008 audit slump (it was down 6%), luring back buyers who abandoned it as they cut back their discretionary spending in light of rising petrol prices and Visa debt. The magazine now sells an average of 78,834 copies every month (up from 75,017 year-on-year).
Marie Claire (0.9%): Clearly, Marie Claire, and its mix of politics, social welfare, compassion and fashion, is a magazine that resonates with women in the current social climate (call it the feminine guilt factor – a fashion magazine purchase can be justified when you are also being informed about worldly matters in such times). It now sells 116,500 copies each month, compared to 115,500 a year ago.
CLEO (-16.9%): CLEO continues to lose readers after shedding 12.3% in the year-on-year June 2008 audit (selling 149,256 copies per month at the time) and falling 16.8% in the December 2008 audit (it's now selling 133,107 copies, placing it 16th amongst the top-20 sellers in the country). The title won't be abandoned by ACP anytime soon, with Clinique on board for the Bachelor of the Year event, and editorial initiatives including a monthly 32-page body book and a new budget section.
The Australian Women's Weekly (-13.8%): While still the biggest selling title in Australia, the Weekly continues to lose sales, after posting a 12.4% year-on-year loss in the June 2008 audit and a 13.8% year-on-year fall in the December 2008 audit. Clearly, responsible mums at the checkout are reluctant to indulge their glossy habits. The mag sold an average of 491,476 monthly copies in the July-December 2008 audit period. Apparently, sales of the Weekly have not dipped below 500,000 since 1941.
Harper's Bazaar (-10.9%): While Harper's was up 5% in the June 2008 year-on-year audit, it's now losing ground, selling 47,691 copies in the year to December 2008, compared to 53,531 copies in the July-December 2007 audit period.
Madison (-7.53%): ACP's answer to Marie Claire isn't faring as well as the Pacific stalwart. After dropping 2.4% in the June 2008 audit (selling 95,166 copies), it's now shifting 90,279 copies each month (compared with 97,623 a year ago). Perhaps this month's revamp will do the trick?
Cosmopolitan (-5.6%): after experiencing an 18.7% sales decline in the June 2008 audit, Cosmopolitan fared better this time around, losing just 5.6% of sales in the year to December. It now sells 165,590 copies each month.
InStyle (-4.76%): Pacific Magazines' InStyle is now selling 61,788 copies each month.
Vogue Australia (-3%): The fashion glossy is now selling 50,252 copies each month, compared to 51,827 a year ago. Not such a dramatic loss considering its luxury branding.
Take 5 (+3.5%): ACP 'reality' weekly (as opposed to 'celebrity weekly') Take 5 sold an average of 260,018 copies each week over the July-December 2008 audit period.
Famous (+1.6%): Clearly the lower cover price of $3.50 is appealing for women wanting a quick celebrity gossip fix – after dropping 10.8% of sales in the June audit (to 67,135 copies), Pacific Mags' Famous is slowly gaining ground, now selling an average of 74,237 copies each week.
Grazia: After a debut circulation figure of 70,000, fashion weekly Grazia is managing to shift 65,000 copies every week.
Who (-0.5%): Who magazine has defied the downward weekly market trend, with sales of 141,003 (year to December 2008) compared to 141,682 (year to December 2007). Like Marie Claire, the mag's mix of serious and frivolous is appealing in the current market.
NW (-16.4%), New Idea (-15%), OK! (-14%) and Woman's Day (-12.9%): these titles have copped the brunt of cuts to discretionary spending. However, all four titles remain in the nation's list of Top 20 sellers: Woman's Day leading with 405,582 average weekly sales, followed by New Idea (330,000), NW (142,183 sales) and OK! with 120,538.
That's Life (-3.6%): Pacific's 'reality weekly' is down to selling 309,508 copies each month, but remains the 7th-biggest seller in the country.
Dolly (-2%) and Girlfriend (-9%): Following international trends, both Dolly and Girlfriend lost circulation, selling an average of 119,072 and 110,000 copies per month respectively.
FOOD & HEALTH MAGAZINES
Australian Healthy Food Guide (+24.2%): Readers are passionate about this A5-sized mag, which now sells 33,760 copies each month. A regular fixture at supermarket checkouts and priced at $4.95, it's the impulse health buy you just can't help.
Health Smart (+19%): This Reader's Digest title has a healthy attitude, reflected in sales increasing to 85,707 per month. Intelligent content without an overt dieting message.
Women's Health (+15.3%): clearly, Australian women like their health magazines with spunk and smarts ("how to lose weight when you have an IQ above 2!"). The title sold 86,500 copies each month from July-December 2008, compared to 75,000 copies a year ago.
Diabetic Living (+10.11%): It's unfortunate that there's an increasing need for this title, yet it's servicing the market well. Sales are up to 46,577 copies per month this audit.
delicious. (+4.2%): this News Magazines title gained 5,199 sales, with an average monthly circulation of 130,465 copies.
Australian Good Food: Like Grazia, this BBC/ACP title is posting its debut audit figure, registering 71,250 copies sold each month.
Australian Gourmet Traveller (-1.5%): Lovers of travel and food aren't turning their backs on this title in droves, despite its 'gourmet' tag in a time of frugality (perhaps we are living more vicariously?). It sold 74,100 copies per month, compared to 75,207 a year ago.
Donna Hay (+0.2%): Donna's recipes continue to appeal to 90,408 buyers each month.
Recipes+ (-15.62%): At only $2.95, this Knock Out Media magazine is hardly a drain on the cash funds, yet it's down to selling a still-impressive 114,810 copies.
Super Food Ideas (-9.9%): News Magazine's "number one selling food magazine", number 8 on the list of Top 20 sellers, shifted 271,298 copies each month for the year to December 2008.
Australian Good Taste (-7.3%): "Australia's leading recipe and cooking magazine" is now selling 154,185 copies each month.
Good Health & Medicine (-7.6%): The ACP title is now selling 60,123 copies each month, while fellow ACP title Slimming & Health (-4.7%) is selling 28,653 copies per month.
Weight Watchers (-5.8%): The Pacific title is shifting 81,356 copies each month, compared to 86,347 a year ago.
Better Homes & Gardens (+8.6%): Flourishing in the current market, this Pacific Magazines stalwart, the third-top seller in the country, continues to impress with monthly sales of 308,000, an increase of around 30,000 readers.
Your Garden (+5.5%): Pacific stablemate Your Garden sold 56,118 copies per month in the year to December 2008.
Notebook (-0.4%): This News Magazines title's revamp hasn't put off loyalists - it's selling 72,709 copies each month.
Vogue Living (-1.8%): The News Magazine title sold an average of 43,185 copies per month in the year to December 2008, just shy of its 43,985 December 2007 audit figure.
Burke's Backyard (-21.7%): Poor Don Burke just can't compete with Johanna Griggs of Better Homes and Gardens. Still, the mag is selling 58,926 copies per month.
Real Living (-8.3%): ACP's answer to interiors mag Domino, Real Living, is now selling 55,383 copies per month (let's hope it doesn't suffer the same fate as Domino!).
Australian Country Style (-2.2%): sold 53,691 copies each month to December 2008; Vogue Entertaining & Travel (-3.95%) sold 30,215 copies; Belle (-3%), sold 29,149 copies.
Phew! To read GWAS' other glossy circulation reports, click here.
Girl With a Satchel
*Number crunching: According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, total gross paid sales = copies sold through retailers, wholesale distributors, sellers and other regular channels of distribution or sale who pay a wholesale price for the publication; cover price sales; subscription sales; accommodation and airline sales; education sales; and multiple publication sales, minus return copies, contra copies, out-of-date copies, banded copies and modified copies. This gives the Bureau its Total Adjusted Gross Paid Sales figure, which is then divided into Australia, NZ and other countries. A restricted amount of 'Event' sales are also allowed (not more than 1% of the TAGPS figure).