by Tom Emrich
According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, US Newsstand magazine sales fell by 8.2% in the second half of 2012. The Alliance of Audited Media presented that for the full year of 2012, Newsstand sales were down 9.5% to 26.7m. This was not the case for paid subscriptions which were up slightly by a 0.7% increase.
Although Digital Issues are reported to be a factor (in second half of 2012, Digital Issues had a combined circulation of 7.9m or 2.4% of the total sector) the most surprising reason for Newsstand sales to have declined is what is being called the “mobile blinder” which refers to the use of smartphones during the most critical selling time for newsstand sales - waiting in line at grocery store.
The most usual scenario for newsstand sales is catching shoppers while in line at the grocery store or drug store. It’s no secret that stores exploit the use of the line to encourage impulse buys - gum, batteries, magazines, horoscopes, comics, and small accessories are usually found merchandised along the long road to the cash register.
But with the prevalence of smartphone use, which has us addicted to our screen especially in times of boredom, the number of people who are waiting in line at the store who grab for a magazine versus their email, mobile browser or app has significantly reduced. In essence, it has “blinded us” from seeing the impulse purchases which, in turn, impacts newsstand sales. (NOTE: It would be curious if there is also a correlation to gum as well).
Hearst Magazines (who just recently announced their move to responsive templates which will hopefully increase user traffic their magazines sites on smartphones during these waiting times) saw Cosmopolitan fall 18.5% in single copy sales in the second half of 2012.
(Image Source: Llbartlett)