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August 14, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:30am

Economist readership analysed: Detailed breakdown by platform for H1 2020

By Dominic Ponsford

The Economist’s print magazine is only its ninth most popular platform, according to the latest figures released by ABC.

Of course, print readers are rather more valuable to the publisher that Twitter followers – with the mass social media reach of the brand intended to funnel readers into becoming subscribers.

Uniquely among magazine publishers The Economist includes a detailed breakdown of its social media reach in its audited figures.

And according to the latest numbers the UK-based business and current affairs title now has 11m followers on LinkedIn (up 39.4% year on year).

This makes LinkedIn second only to Twitter as the most popular platform for the title. The various Economist Twitter accounts have some 25m followers.

The Economist’s weekly email is its second fastest growing outlet, with readers up 72% to 1.9m – closely followed by the daily email, up 72% to 1.9m.

The title shows is international strength by the fact that it has strong followings on Chinese social media platforms WeChat and Weibo, with 846,000 and 1.9m followers respectively.

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The Economist’s print magazine edition itself achieved modest overall growth of 6% year on year to 906,611 issues per week. But this was acheived through growth in free copies, while actively purchased sales dropped by 10%.

Platform Total Y/Y change
The Economist Twitter (Group) 25,222,037 5%
The Economist (LinkedIn) 11,133,468 39.4%
The Economist Facebook (Group) 10,512,881 3%
The Economist (Instagram) 5,018,025 42%
The Economist this Week (Email) 2,264,206 78%
The Economist Today (Email) 1,936,413 72%
The Economist (Weibo) 1,870,167 16%
The Economist (YouTube) 1,472,798 62%
The Economist (magazine) 906,611 6%
The Economist (WeChat) 846,047 33%
Economist App (New) (Web) 128,267 166%

Although headquartered in the UK, the US remains by far the Economist’s biggest market with 536,722 sales per week, followed by the UK with 155,538 and the rest of Europe with 130,642.

During lockdown (April to June) print circulation of The Economist dropped to 731,412.

Free copies distributed to airports and offices fell from 109,576 per week to just 329.

The Economist’s app subscribers grew 166% year-on-year to 128,267 in the first half of 2020. But this figures are complicated by the fact the title was switching readers over from its old “legacy” app to a new one in the  period.

As The Economist bundles print and digital subscriptions it is likely that most app subscribers also get the print edition.

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