So it’s fashion week season, and you want to see what Bottega Veneta put out on the runway. Or perhaps you want to see which natural backdrop Jacquemus chose for his show. You’re probably going to see it on social media through the brand’s profile or some magazine/publication. Now, a couple of decades before you, your grandma probably would have gone to a newsstand or library and read all about it in a magazine.
So does this mean print media is dead in this day and age of everything digital? Some might say yes, some might say no, and some might not even care.
The reality is that print media overall has seen a steady decline over the last two decades, with most consumers getting their news and entertainment through digital means. According to one study, adults spend only 3.5 per cent of their daily media consumption time on print.
However, the big names in fashion are still putting out issues every month. Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Allure all have print editions and a strong digital presence.
Print is Slow But Not Dead
Why would someone want to wait for something to come in print when they can view it right now? Websites and social media provide people with immediate access to information and imagery. However, that doesn’t mean print is out of the picture.
If the sales numbers are anything to go by, it still has an active audience. For example, Elle, which is the biggest fashion publication print-wise, has 46 editions globally. Yes, they also have 33 websites with outreach to millions.
In the UK, the British Vogue’s print magazine reach has been increasing over the last year and has reached its monthly high since 2013. It reached 2.7 million people from April 2019 to March 2020.
So what gives? How are these magazines still managing to churn out profits from print editions despite most audiences using digital media?
Well, it seems that these publications have found the right balance of digital and print, with some dedicating exclusive content to print editions. The cover shoots are still a big thing, and the cover isn’t something made for digital.
Who is Buying Print?
Clearly, there’s an audience out there spending money on print fashion magazines. While there’s no hard evidence as to who exactly is buying magazines, they are out there. In the US, there are over 220 million magazine readers as of 2020. Many of these magazines are fashion and lifestyle-related.
Those glossy pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar also have the traditional factor. These coveted magazines are not just reaching out to millennials or Gen Z; they are also reaching out to the generations before them who, for the better part of their life, got their fashion dose from the print magazines.
Then there are those occasional buyers like offices and clinics to keep those waiting busy or fashion students who often need these spreads for inspiration and mood boards.
Evidently, digital is leading the way when it comes to fashion magazines and publications. However, print is, in fact, somewhat relevant and very much present.