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Meet the Press: Beauty Editors Speak Out

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: October 14, 2008

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Magazine spending, according to the Periodical & Book Association of America, has stayed afloat throughout inflation in recent years, with new markets developing across the globe (“Worldwide, Magazines are Holding Up,” Jan 30, 2008). The International Federation of the Periodical Press (IFPP) attributes this growth to the newly emerging middle class in countries such as India and China. In China alone, the IFPP says ad spending on magazines more than doubled between 2001 and 2006, from $145 million to $375 million, and it is forecast to reach $515 million in 2008. The IFPP also reports that ad spending on U.S. magazines increased from $21.5 billion in 2001 to $25.2 billion in 2006, which is forecast to hit $28.3 billion this year. Worldwide, the PBAA believes the pace of such ad spending could grow by 3.4% a year through 2010.

With more competitors advertising in consumer beauty magazines, it’s up to brands to pursue these advertising avenues in order to reach wider demographics in old—and new—markets.

The publications noted in this feature represent a total of more than 34.5 billion U.S. adult readers—according to current media kits, a spring 2008 reader study by Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI) and a 2007 Subscriber and Newstand Study by Beta Research Corp. This number does not factor in the overlap of readers who pick up more than one publication regularly. However, the figure does break down to about 11.7 million women and 800,000 men who read each issue of Glamour; 4.3 million women and 370,000 men who read Women’s Health; 3.5 million women and 200,000 men who read Marie Claire; 1.4 million women and 65,000 men who read More; and 2.1 million women and 10.1 million men who read Men’s Health. And that’s not including non-U.S. editions.

“The strength of our magazine has always been advice on how to lead a healthy life,” says Sandra Nygaard, senior fashion editor, Men’s Health, “and grooming has become an integral part of that. Our guys have definitely become much more conscious of their skin in the past five years. Specifically, they want to know about the ingredients and the scientific benefits of them; also, they want to know the best ways to maximize the benefits of a product.”

As for reader/consumer demographics, according to media kits and MRI, median ages range in the mid-30s for Glamour, Marie Claire and Women’s Health; in the late 30s for Men’s Health; and in the early 50s for More magazine, published by the Meredith Corporation. “More’s readers are highly-educated, affluent, 40-plus women, so our reporting is certainly influenced by that particular demo’s concerns and lifestyles, but even more so by their affinity for the latest trends in products and beauty news,” says Lois Joy Johnson, beauty and fashion director, More. “They are very open to new ideas, have the money for luxury products but are not snobs—mixing drugstore and high-end brands easily. They are also the most experienced users of beauty products, having the history of usage makes them grassroots experts.”