Market-leading titles at the younger end of the market, such as Conde Nast's Glamour and The National Magazine Company's Cosmopolitan, found the going tough.
Glamour experienced its second consecutive period of sales declines.
Simon Kippin, Glamour's publishing director, admits the title has been hit by the launch of magazines such as Grazia. "I'm not exactly cracking open the Champagne, but nor am I wearing a hair shirt. There are worse places to be than Glamour," he says.
Cosmopolitan, Glamour's main rival, also experienced a year-on-year circulation decline. But its publishing director, Jan Adcock, argues the title has increased its market share.
"With a premium price and active sales of more than 460,000, Cosmopolitan remains the most valuable monthly magazine on the newsstand," she says.
IPC Media's Marie Claire suffered a slight year-on-year sales decline.
It attributes this fall to comparisons with a strong year in 2004, when the title was relaunched.
Richard Johnstone, the publishing director of Marie Claire, says: "It's unsurprising Marie Claire has dipped against such strong headline growth last year. However, for the past three years, Marie Claire has consistently delivered advertisers more than 370,000 twenty- and thirtysomething women and will continue to do so."
Hachette Filipacchi's Elle and IPC's InStyle posted solid circulation rises, evidence of a burgeoning interest in fashion-focused titles. Vogue, which celebrates its 90th anniversary in September, also continued to climb on the back of strong subscriptions growth and a focus on newsstand sales rather than bulks.
The glossy titles that experienced the worst sales declines were Emap's New Woman and NatMags' Company. NatMags says Company has suffered because of the tough climate in the sector but is committed to increased investment in the title's editorial and promotional support.
A NatMags spokeswoman says: "The level of attrition in this market, increased promotional spending, discounting and covermounting, has been unprecedented over this period.
Company has a very consistent monthly sales pattern and, unlike many of our competitors, does not have huge sales fluctuations month to month."
Industry experts expect titles at the younger end of the market to revamp and take the fight to the weeklies. Claudine Collins, the group press director at MediaCom, says: "Younger titles such as Glamour have been hit by weekly titles. What you'll see is magazines such as Glamour increasing their celebrity content."
Emap's Grazia, a year on from launch, posted a double-digit sales increase.
Observers say its mix of fashion and celebrity is proving popular and expect rival publishers to launch against it. Collins adds: "Grazia came to the market saying it would sell 150,000 and it has exceeded that. Having said that, it's half celebrity and real-life with a glossy cover."
Titles at the older end of the market generally did well. Conde Nast's Easy Living continued to increase sales and NatMags' Good Housekeeping posted strong year-on-year figures. Hachette's launch, Psychologies, was a whisker away from its circulation target of 100,000. Haymarket's Eve posted its seventh successive period of growth and Conde Nast's Tatler can claim to be the UK's fastest-growing women's lifestyle title at the newsstand.
Verdict Titles at the mature end of the market will continue to perform well owing to heightened interest in fashion. Monthly magazines aimed at younger women will increase their celebrity coverage to compete with the weekly lifestyle market.
WOMEN'S LIFESTYLE TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period-on Year-on -period -year % change % change Glamour Conde Nast 585,984 -3.9 -5.5 Good Housekeeping NatMags 468,579 -1.5 7.7 Cosmopolitan NatMags 461,610 -0.3 -3.5 Yours Emap 421,438 -4.2 -4.0 Marie Claire IPC 371,444 -2.6 -3.4 Woman & Home IPC 335,922 2.6 1.0 Prima NatMags 331,715 1.7 4.5 Candis Newhall 312,547 -2.3 -2.6 Company NatMags 283,429 -6.2 -14.8 New Woman Emap 231,066 -14.6 -17.6 Red Hachette Filipacchi 219,689 0.3 4.6 Vogue Conde Nast 214,348 1.9 3.6 Elle (UK) Hachette Filipacchi 208,132 2.2 3.0 InStyle UK IPC 196,857 0.1 3.1 Real Essential 183,042 -9.3 -7.1 Easy Living Conde Nast 182,146 6.5 n/a Grazia Emap 170,783 10.1 n/a Eve Haymarket 163,671 1.0 2.2 She NatMags 156,674 5.7 -13.0 B Hachette Filipacchi 150,536 -10.1 -9.4 Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations, July-December 2005.