The market leader Glamour con-solidated its top position; Emap's glossy weekly Grazia continued its spectacular sales growth and NatMags' Good Housekeeping overtook its stablemate Cosmopolitan to take second place.
Jane Wolfson, the head of press at Initiative, says the overall results were a positive sign for the market. "It's encouraging as women's lifestyle didn't have a good run last year. Overall, it was good; I wouldn't say there was anything really dramatic within women's lifestyle, but it did confirm that the shift away from monthlies to weeklies is definitely still there."
Simon Kippin, the publishing director of Glamour, which held on to its lead position with a minor 0.4 per cent increase, believes that the women's lifestyle sector is in good shape for a recovery. "I don't buy this weeklies killing the monthlies; Glamour is up by more than 12 per cent in subscribers. I think there is a place for both in the market. Weeklies are a light snack between meals, so to speak, while monthlies are about stronger brand experiences; both have valuable jobs. I think the death of monthlies has been slightly exaggerated."
The star performer in the sector was Grazia. The glossy weekly, which launched in 2005, continued its strong run. Commenting on its performance, David Davies, the managing director of Grazia, says: "It's all taken off in the past six months and it's growing all the time. I think Grazia stands out on the newsstand; it has been a big hit and is growing well."
Many of the more established titles had a difficult time; Cosmopolitan dropped by 1.3 per cent year on year, despite TV advertising campaigns and a cut to its coverprice. However, Jessica Burley, the managing director of NatMags, says she was "delighted" with the magazine's performance in the second half of the year, which saw a 3 per cent period-on-period rise. "We had a tough first six months in 2006; this is a solid recovery in a really aggressive market," she says.
Marie Claire also struggled, dropping by 9.9 per cent. However, a revamp of the magazine in November seems to have stopped the decline, with the IPC title posting a period-on-period increase of 13,000 copies.
Jackie Newcombe, the managing director of IPC SouthBank, says: "Marie Claire's new look has been extremely well received and has delivered everything we said it would. Marie Claire has achieved stability and is outperforming the fashion market this period."
Both IPC and NatMags are looking to their web properties to build brand loyalty and engage with their readers online. Marie Claire is also launching a mobile service to connect with its target audience further.
The fashion-focused titles returned some strong results, with Conde Nast's Vogue recording its tenth-consecutive ABC increase and its highest circulation. Hachette Filipacchi's Elle also had a record year, enjoying its best ABC in five years following the launch of its brand extension, a designer fashion guide Elle Collections.
Haymarket's Eve also posted its ninth consecutive increase in circulation. However, IPC's InStyle was down, and, despite the arrival of editor Trish Halpin from Red, the title posted a 7.6 per cent decline in circulation.
Emap's New Woman and NatMags' Company also felt the brunt of falling sales, reflecting the growth of the weekly fashion-focused titles and the fast pace of high-street fashion, which sees new collections launch weekly.
Verdict The weekly celebrity magazines have had an impact on sales in the women's lifestyle market, but, overall, the sector is stabilising. The monthly magazines will need to be more aggressive and innovate to strengthen the market further.
TITLE PUBLISHER Total ABC Period-on- Year-on-
% change % change
Glamour Conde Nast 588,539 0.4 0.4
Good Housekeeping NatMags 463,645 5.1 -1.1
Cosmopolitan NatMags 455,649 3.0 -1.3
Yours Emap 383,577 -4.2 -9.0
Marie Claire IPC 334,729 1.1 -9.9
Woman & Home IPC 316,034 -2.8 -5.9
Prima NatMags 315,149 -2.0 -5.0
Candis Newhall 301,309 0.1 -3.6
More! Emap 271,629 -0.1 -2.2
Company NatMags 264,095 -4.0 -6.8
Red Hachette Filipacchi 224,072 1.0 2.0
New Woman Emap 222,076 -4.2 -3.9
Vogue Conde Nast 219,026 1.3 2.2
Grazia Emap 210,200* 20.0 23.1
Elle (UK) Hachette Filipacchi 209,172 0.2 0.5
Easy Living Conde Nast 200,116 0.0 9.9
InStyle UK IPC 181,909 -7.7 -7.6
Eve Haymarket 172,419 0.6 5.3
She NatMags 151,713 3.9 -3.2
Real Essential 131,525 -8.6 -28.1
Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations, July-December 2006 *per week.