View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Data
  2. Audience Data
March 26, 2024

Widening gulf between weekday and Saturday UK newspaper sales revealed

FT Weekend circulation is 106% higher than its weekday readership.

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Daily Mail’s Saturday edition today sells almost double the number of copies than it does on the average weekday.

New Press Gazette analysis of ABC data shows the extent to which Saturday national newspaper sales have widened their gap over Monday to Friday sales over the past decade.

The Daily Mail‘s average Monday to Friday circulation was 1.5 million in February 2014 and its Saturday circulation was 58% higher on 2.4 million.

Nowadays the Mail’s Saturday circulation is 96% higher than its weekday paper, on 1.2 million and 607,914 respectively last month.

The Mail’s is the second widest gap: FT Weekend, published on a Saturday, had an average UK and Ireland circulation of 91,917 last month – 106% higher than the average 44,429 weekday circulation.

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

In 2014 the FT Weekend’s circulation was on 102,897 – 53% higher than its weekday edition.

Content from our partners
MHP Group's 30 To Watch awards for young journalists open for entries
How PA Media is helping newspapers make the digital transition
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it

The FT's average circulation in Press Gazette's monthly ABC table appears much higher (108,125 in February) because that figure includes global readership.

However ABC only shows the weekday versus weekend split for the UK and Ireland circulation of each newspaper so we have used this total only throughout this analysis.

All newspapers are more widely read on Saturdays than weekdays

In 2014 the Saturday editions at the Daily Star and the i were smaller than their weekday editions.

However today all seven of the national newspapers with publicly available ABC data (also including the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Record) are more widely read on a Saturday.

The i's Saturday circulation has gone from being 16% lower than its weekday edition in 2014 to being 49% higher. It relaunched as i weekend in 2017 and Saturday became its strongest day of the week a year later.

i weekend now sells 173,607 copies on average versus 116,481 for the weekday edition.

The Daily Star's Saturday edition was 11% lower than its weekday sales in 2014 but is now 3% higher (135,103 on Saturdays versus 130,932).

Sundays versus Saturdays newspaper circulation

The FT and i do not publish a Sunday edition, each instead selling the Saturday paper as one bumper weekend edition.

Similar to its weekday versus Saturday trend, the Daily Mail Saturday circulation is 99% higher than the Mail on Sunday. This gap has increased from 58% in 2014.

The Express has a smaller gap, with the Saturday circulation 55% higher than the Sunday Express. In 2014 the difference was 33%.

Saturday editions see slower rate of circulation decline

At all seven of the newspapers in our dataset, the Saturday editions have seen a slower rate of circulation decline than the weekdays - even if only just.

The narrowest gap was at the Daily Mirror, where the average weekday circulation has dropped by 75% in ten years and the average Saturday circulation is down 74%.

The biggest difference was at the i, where i weekend has declined 33% and the weekday newspaper has dropped by 62%.

The smallest decline on both weekdays and Saturdays was at the Financial Times, down 34% and 10% respectively over the past decade.

Press Gazette has previously reported that between the start of 2023 and 2024, average national newspaper weekday cover prices increased by 15%, compared to 12% rises for Saturday and Sunday editions.

What about the Guardian, Times, Sun and Telegraph?

Up-to-date comparisons are not available for The Guardian, The Times, The Sun and The Telegraph as they no longer make their circulation figures public through ABC.

However, this is how they stood at the point they each last published their data:

The Guardian traditionally skewed more towards Saturdays, with circulation 120% higher than on weekdays in February 2014 and 147% higher in July 2021, the most recent data available.

The Times bucked the trend of decline, with its Saturday circulation increasing by 4% between February 2014 and March 2020 and its weekday circulation falling by just 4%.

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network