IPC's lifestyle monthly for "modern, suburban women" launched an initiative to use real women as regular cover models during the latest ABC period. It recorded a 12.7% circulation increase year on year and a 9.5% increase for the period.
Jackie Newcombe, managing director for IPC Southbank, the publisher's upmarket women's division, said: "Essentials is the fastest growing magazine for the fourth ABC period in a row.
"It's a Zeitgeisty brand based on real women. It's something we've had as an editorial theme and a bit of a campaign, which is why we've put real women on the cover. It's also a great value for money proposition that resonates with these times."
IPC stablemate Woman & Home, which targets women in their forties and fifties, held its place to be the fourth-most popular paid-for magazine in the sector, behind Condé Nast's Glamour, NatMag's Good Housekeeping, and Cosmopolitan.
Woman & Home recorded a net average circulation of 385,800 copies for the six months to December 2010, a 4.7% increase year on year and a 4.5% boost for the period.
Newcombe, who also oversees Woman & Home at IPC, said: "It's had its highest circulation in 15 years. Sue James, who has been editor for eight years, has done a stunning job."
Handbag-sized Glamour remained the queen of women's lifestyle magazine in today's results.
Now in its tenth year, Glamour has held steady as the number one women's lifestyle magazine, despite a dip in circulation for the period of 4.9% to 500,591 and a drop of 2.9% year on year.
Simon Kippin, publishing director of Glamour, said the title had not multi-packed with other issues and called the results a "clean figure".
However the Condé Nast title included four cover-mounts with Glamour's April, July, August and December issues. In the latest ABC period, Glamour packed a paperback novel and a Nail Inc nail varnish for the August and December issues respectively.
Kippin said: "We're very pleased. It hasn't been an easy time out there, but we've increased our lead in terms of newsstand sales over our nearest competitor Cosmopolitan by 20%, from 93,000 to 109,000. Obviously we'd be happy if the number was always a plus rather than a minus, but we still hold that number one spot."
Cosmopolitan, a direct competitor to Condé Nast's Glamour magazine, reported a drop of 6.9% year on year. The average monthly circulation for the period was 400,575, a 0.3% fall.
Amy King, head of press at MPG, said: "NatMag needs to have a look at Cosmo and Company (which recorded a 9.4% drop year on year). Perhaps they've taken their fingers off the pulse there."
Rebecca Miskin, publisher of Cosmopolitan, countered: "We don't give out free copies, we have a healthy and loyal readership and are read by 1.5 million women a month."
Dominic Williams, head of press at Carat, said: "Overall the women's glossy market is not bad but you have got some shockers in there. Cosmo, Easy Living, Marie Claire and Psychologies are all having a tough time, but overall the sector's about par.
"Magazines need to concentrate on their editorial product. Publishers are getting carried away with the iPad and digital offerings but the print publications are their bread and butter.
"Take Elle magazine, up 2.6% year on year, Hachette Filipacchi is obviously concentrating on its bread and butter there".
Good Housekeeping reported a rise of 3.2% year on year and a 5% boost for the period, taking its circulation to 443,750.
Amy King, head of press at MPG, said: "Essentials, Good Housekeeping and Woman & Home are all doing well which indicates that the older end of the magazine market is bolstering the women's glossy sector as a whole.
"What these titles have realised is that 50-year-old woman of today are not the same women of 15-years ago. They have reacted to women's changing attitudes and the editorial reflects older women’s interests such as travelling and work."
King also attributes a burgeoning interest in cooking and food during the recession as another reason behind the success of the more senior end of the women's market.
Stylist, ShortList Media's free women's weekly, has risen 3.3% year on year. The magazine, which had its first ABC results last February, recorded a circulation of 424,107.
InStyle magazine, under the editorship of Eilidh MacAskil since February 2009, was down 1.9% year on year, with an average net circulation of 180,574.
Marie Claire, also part of the IPC stock, took the blow of a 6.4% drop year on year and a 5.3% dip for the period, down to 265,042.
Red magazine, which relaunched its website at the end of last year, kept its lead against rival for the 30-something market, Condé Nast’s Easy Living, recording a 2% rise year on year and a circulation of 231,028.
Nadia Dawson, publisher of Red and Psychologies, said Hachette Filipacchi had invested in the magazine over the past year but had decided to be selective about its use of cover-mounts.
In the latest ABC period, Red had just one cover-mount that accompanied the September issue - a Neals' Yard moisturiser.
Psychologies magazine was down 8.2% year on year but up 1% period on period, to 120,119.
Dawson said: "Psychologies had been having a more tricky time so we're pleased with the result. It's UK paid-for copies have gone up by 3.6% - that for me is the interesting number."
Among the weeklies, Look, published by Evarn, a joint venture between IPC Media and Group Marie Claire, had a minor 0.5% dip year on year.
Surprisingly Bauer's Grazia was down year on year by 2.3% and 1.9% for the period, pulling in an average net circulation of 224,421.
Condé Nast’s fashion title Vogue, which launched an iPad app in the latest ABC period, continues to lead the high-end fashion magazines in the sector, with 211,277 copies in circulation and a 0.4% rise year on year.
Elle, published by Hachette Filipacchi, remained Vogue's biggest competitor, coming in with a circulation of 200,531 and a 2.6% rise year on year.
Of the high-end fashion monthlies, Harper's Bazaar reported the largest increase, with an 8.2% increase year on year and a latest average net circulation of 119,712.
Tess Macleod-Smith, publisher of Harper's Bazaar, said: "This is our 16th consecutive increase, it's so amazing to see how far we’ve grown.
"When myself and Lucy Yeomans (the editor) took over 10-years ago the circulation figures were very static – around the 80s mark where Tatler still is –so it's testament to the brand to see how far we've come".
Meanwhile, Charlotte Stockting, publisher of Hello!, described Harper’s Bazaar as "the jewel in NatMag’s crown". She said: "It's a beautiful product and a perfect magazine for prestigious advertising. Long may that reign".
Vanity Fair and Tatler, both Condé Nast publications, were steady year on year, with no change and a 1.1% increase year on year, bringing in circulations of 102,471 and 87,258 respectively.
|Top 24 women's lifestyle magazines|
|Glamour||Condé Nast Publications
|Good Housekeeping||The National Magazine Company
|Cosmopolitan||The National Magazine Company
|Woman & Home||IPC Media
|Yours||Bauer Consumer Media||293,016||-1.4%||3.0%|
|Prima||The National Magazine Company
|Marie Claire||European Magazines Limited||265,042||-5.3%||-6.4%|
|Red||Hachette Filipacchi (UK)
|Grazia||Bauer Consumer Media||224,421||-1.9%||-2.3%|
|Company||The National Magazine Company
|Vogue||Condé Nast Publications
|Elle (U.K.)||Hachette Filipacchi (UK)
|More!||Bauer Consumer Media||188,265||0.6%||-2.4%|
|Instyle UK||IPC Media
|Easy Living||Condé Nast Publications
|She||The National Magazine Company
|Psychologies Magazine||Hachette Filipacchi (UK)
|Harpers Bazaar||The National Magazine Company
|Vanity Fair||Condé Nast Publications
|Tatler||Condé Nast Publications
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