Magazines are still a popular choice for those perusing print media, even if the industry is dealing with the continued issues of falling circulation figures and the effects of digitalization on media consumption in general. Travelers in particular might reach for a magazine in an airport or train station, whether out of habit or to take a break from a digital screen.
The number of consumer magazines, meaning those sold to the general public, published in Germany began to drop after 2018. These types of magazines aim to include a wide consumer audience, compared to trade journals, which usually focus on a specific industry or profession. Consumer magazines therefore include diverse media genres. The best-selling magazines in Germany were the established news heavyweights Der Spiegel, Stern and the people/ celebrity magazine Bunte.
While dwindling circulation affected all magazines across the board, some were still printed more than others by far. In fact, among the leaders were TV guides TV 14 and TV Digital. Consumer magazine sales volume in Germany decreased significantly since the 1990s. If in 1996 almost 124.8 million copies were sold, in 2021 figures dropped to 56 million. Most Germans read magazines for leisure either several times a week or several times a month. The number of readers strongly willing to spend money on magazines and newspapers has decreased in recent years.
Magazines increasingly rely on advertising to continue existing. However, this too is changing, as the advertising industry also turns to digital media, where growing consumer and audience numbers are to be found. If in 2004 net advertising revenue for consumer magazines amounted to roughly 1.84 billion euros, by 2021 numbers fell to 710 million euros. That same year, the aforementioned Stern, Bild am Sonntag and Der Spiegel recorded the highest gross ad revenue on the German magazine market. Forecasts predict magazine advertising revenue in Germany will amount to 822 million euros in 2023.
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