Most popular newspapers in the UK: Print ABC circulations for May 2022

National press ABCs: Financial Times and Metro only newspapers with YoY growth in June

most popular newspapers

Every publicly ABC audited UK national newspaper saw circulation decline from May to June with the exception of the i which saw growth of 0.2%.

Compared to June 2021, the Financial Times was the only paid-for newspaper to report growth, of 8% to 116,498.

Since the Covid-19 lockdowns ended the FT’s circulation increases have largely been put down to the return of the distribution of free bulk copies at locations like airports and hotels. But in June a 17% year-on-year increase in bulk copies to 35,094 was also accompanied by 9% growth in paid newsstand sales to 15,612 (alongside a 4% decline in subscriptions to 9,076).

The smallest (4%) annual decline was at the i, which had a circulation of 137,964 and is the only other paid-for newspaper to still be shored up with free bulk copies – although they only account for 4% of its current total.

The biggest month-on-month decline was at the Sunday Mail in Scotland (down 5% to 66,469) while the biggest annual drop was at the Sunday People (down 23% to 85,212). Both are owned by Reach.

The free Metro was the only national newspaper other than the FT to grow year-on-year (by 3%) as it has upped its distribution this year compared to the Covid-hit 2020 and 2021.

Scroll down or click here for new graphs charting the ups and downs of the UK national press in the past 20 years.

National newspaper circulations in June 2022 (ABC) with monthly and yearly changes – this page will be updated monthly:

The column for bulks refers to copies which are circulated for free at venues such as airports and hotels.

The above figures do not include the Sun, Times and Telegraph titles which have all chosen to keep their ABC circulations private since the start of 2020. The Guardian and Observer joined them in September 2021.

The last ABC figures we have for these titles are as follows:

  • The Sun: 1,210,915 (March 2020)
  • The Sun on Sunday: 1,013,777 (March 2020)
  • The Sunday Times: 647,622 (March 2020)
  • The Times: 365,880 (March 2020)
  • Daily Telegraph: 317,817 (December 2019)
  • Sunday Telegraph: 248,288 (December 2019)
  • The Observer: 136,656 (July 2021)
  • The Guardian: 105,134 (July 2021)
2021/22 in focus

These charts show UK national newspaper circulation over the past 12 months.

They should be seen in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit the UK from March 2020. Free daily Metro was by far the hardest hit as commuters disappeared from train stations and other key locations almost overnight. Circulation had started to bounce back as publisher DMGT ramped up distribution again, but the title faced a small slump in circulation in November 2020 and a larger one again in January 2021 – coinciding with the start of England’s second and third lockdowns. In May 2021 it returned to distributing 1m copies per day.


We have also charted the longer-term change in ABC circulation over the past 20 years across the UK press.

These charts show the extent of the print decline from The Sun reaching 3.76m in 2000 and the Sun on Sunday’s launch in February 2012 with a short-lived 3.21m before dropping to just above 2m.

Meanwhile, though the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail once were competitive in print reach at around 2.3m-2.4m in 2000, the Mail now has a circulation three times the size of its former rival.

The Sunday tabloids all saw a spike in 2011 after the closure of the News of the World but few retained the readers – the Sunday People and Sunday Mirror did best at doing so, but largely lost them when the Sun on Sunday launched.

These charts will be updated each month to include the latest figures.

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Continue reading for previous months’ coverage of the UK’s most popular newspapers.

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17 thoughts on “National press ABCs: Financial Times and Metro only newspapers with YoY growth in June”

  1. As previously pointed out several times, Metro (not “the Metro”), City AM and the Evening Standard are not national papers.

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