The Guardian’s sales are split almost equally between paid newsstand and subscriptions, but it was the only ABC-audited UK national newspaper to see a drop in subscribers since June 2019.
Press Gazette analysis of national newspaper ABC figures shows newsstand sales decline and subscriber growth across the market, although the latter is not enough to counteract the falling trend of print readership.
In June, the Guardian had average daily paid single copy (newsstand) sales of 53,727 and paid subscriber sales of 52,308 – a 51/49 split.
[Read more: National press ABCs latest data]
Despite being the newspaper with the biggest reliance on subscribers, the Guardian was the only newspaper that saw a drop in subscriber numbers between June 2019 and June 2021 (of 6%). However it has, like many others, driven record numbers of digital subscriptions over the past year.
Some 28% of sales at Guardian sister title the Observer were subscriptions.
The FT saw the biggest fall in newsstand sales in the past two years, halving from 28,951 to 14,306, but its print subscribers more than doubled to 9,478.
The smallest fall in newsstand sales was at the Mail on Sunday, which saw a decline of 16% to 791,682. However, although it had the highest proportion of subscribers among the tabloid/mid-market papers, this was still only 4% of its total sales.
The Sun, Times and Telegraph are not included in this analysis as they no longer make their ABC-audited circulations public.
The Guardian’s subscriber split was only tailed by the Financial Times which, when non-UK sales and bulk copies that go to locations like airports and hotels are removed, had a 60/40 split towards the newsstand.
However, when including all the FT’s ABC sales categories, its overall proportion of subscribers fell to 9%.
Only the FT and i’s ABC circulations include bulks. The FT was the only paper to sell more than 4% of its ABC total circulation copies outside the UK in June. It sold 63% elsewhere in 2019 and 50% in June 2021.
The Saturday edition of the Daily Mail remains by far the best selling paper in the UK, read by more people than the free Metro, which distributed an average of 1m copies each weekday in June.
The Mail on Sunday was the only title to beat its weekday sister title, with 832,963 sales compared with the Daily Mail’s 819,585 Monday to Friday.
Meanwhile, the Daily Star was the only title to come close to matching its Saturday circulation on weekdays, with 215,339 sales during the week compared with 218,600.
Subscriptions made up a smaller proportion of sales for the Guardian on Saturdays (25%). Saturdays were its biggest day, selling more than 2.5 times its weekday numbers.
Despite this, last year Guardian bosses decided the Saturday edition should bear the brunt of Covid-19 cost cutting by closing its Weekend, Review, Guide and Travel sections.
Picture: PA Wire/Peter Byrne