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February 17, 2022updated 20 Feb 2023 10:49am

Magazine ABCs for 2021: Full breakdown of UK print and digital circulation

By Dominic Ponsford

Most of the 250-odd UK consumer magazine titles audited by ABC lost circulation in 2021 but by no means all.

Among some of the big winners in terms of print sales were the London Review of Books (up 4% to 91,859), Private Eye (up 1% 237,754) and The Big Issue (up 5% to 50,359).

Iconic women’s lifestyle magazine Cosmopolitan was one of the biggest fallers (down 26% to 138,243 UK and RoI sales).

Every title in the womens’ weeklies sector lost sales year on year with Best (down 20% to 66,452) and New! (down 22% to 75,204) the biggest fallers.

The total ABC figures quoted below are combined print and digital numbers, except for those titles which choose to audit their digital edition separately.

Where there is a separate digital ABC certificate the figures are not de-duped (meaning they include bundled subscriptions where readers have more than one format included in the price).

The Economist leads the pack with 995,228 digital edition sales globally, versus 648,543 global print sales.

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Primary and pre-school magazines remain one of the strongest performing sectors. News and current affairs and gardening titles also performed well.

Immediate Media boasted a combined print and digital circulation in the last six months of 2021 of 2,508,680 – up 5% year on year, with 1.2m subscribers. Its best performer was BBC Gardeners’ World, up 14% year on year.

Executive chairman Tom Bureau said: “The strong performance across our print portfolio, both on the newsstand and on subscriptions, combined with double-digit growth in our digital business and the return of our live events last year, has helped us celebrate our 10th anniversary in style, with our best-ever financial results.”

UK magazine circulation 2021: Sector by sector round-up


News and current affairs magazine circulations


TV listing magazine circulations

Women's home interest magazine circulations

Women's interest lifestyle and fashion magazine circulations

Women's weeklies magazine circulations

Cookery and kitchen magazine circulations

Sport magazine circulations


Motoring magazine circulations for 2021

Leisure magazine circulations

Home interest magazine circulations

Children and teen magazine circulations

Leisure and county magazine circulations

General interest, science and men's magazine circulation figures

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