Magazines in Canada - Statistics & Facts

In general, the magazine market in North America is declining. The number of magazine readers in Canada have been decreasing since 2014, falling from 17.2 million down to 15.9 in 2016. In the same period, revenues from newsstand sales sank by over 79 million U.S. dollars. A reason for this decline could be that consumption among younger audiences is lower than that of older generations. The most recent data shows that 44 percent of Canadians aged between 21 and 34 years old read print magazines weekly, compared to 67 percent of those aged between 50 and 69. If this trend continues, we can expect to see the overall readership of print magazines in Canada reduce as Millennials turn to other sources of entertainment.

Smaller magazines could struggle to increase their readership in an industry which may never fully recover, however larger and more established publications are still performing well. According to the most recent findings, the leading English-language magazine in Canada is Reader’s Digest, with 4.36 million readers. Among French-language publications, Ricardo Magazine was revealed to be the most popular with 1.78 million readers compared to Vivre Mieux which reported one million. There is of course no guarantee that these figures will remain strong over the coming years, with 42 percent of Canadians having decreased their consumption of print newspapers or magazines.

Meanwhile, as far as the digital magazine publishing industry is concerned, e-magazines are struggling to compete with e-books, which generated 359 million U.S. dollars of digital publishing revenue in Canada in 2016. E-magazines on the other hand produced just 13 million. Similarly, in 2017 when Canadians were asked about digital media products they had spent money on over the last year, 17 percent said e-books compared to six percent having spent on e-magazines.

Advertising spending is also down, with current data showing that consumer magazine advertising spending dropped by over 100 million Canadian dollars between 2015 and 2016, and business advertising spending has been on a steep annual decline since 2014. Magazine advertising however does not generate the significant amount of complaints brought about by other mediums – in fact, in 2017 there were just 29 complaints about magazine advertising in Canada, compared to 716 for television adverts. Further, findings have shown that after seeing an advert in a magazine, 44 percent of Canadian magazine readers and buyers visited the advertiser’s website, and 46 percent used or planned to use the coupon or promotion listed on the advert.

Overall, positives can be drawn from this struggling industry, and one only has to look at the successful resurgence of vinyl records – a medium previously considered virtually defunct – to see the potential for a brighter future within the industry. Whether the Canadian magazine market will experience growth in the next few years remains to be seen, but there is always the chance that magazines will make a comeback later on.

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