Advertising budgets may be abandoning print for digital media, but most adults still prefer to consume content across both sides of the digital divide.
According to a new survey by Mequoda, the "American Magazine Reader Study & Handbook," 70 percent of adults in the U.S. read a print magazine in the last 30 days, and 51 percent read at least two. In what may come as something of a surprise, those figures are almost completely flat compared to the same study last year, in which 70 percent of respondents also reported having read a print magazine in the past month.
The findings seem to indicate that digital magazines — in the study, defined as "magazine content distributed via electronic means" — still have work to do to catch up to their print counterparts; 41 percent of respondents reported having read at least one digital magazine, but that's up from 37 percent a year ago.
While not explicitly addressed in the study, there is certainly significant overlap between magazine brands' print and digital audiences, and the findings lend credence to the common industry maxim that publishers should attempt to reach consumers across any medium available to them.
The multiplatform consumer is typically older and more affluent than the digital-only consumer, according to the study, and 1.67 times more likely to spend $100 or more per year on digital magazine content than the digital-only consumer, although only 1.8 percent of respondents reported spending that much on digital magazine content in the last year, and 76.1 percent said they spent nothing at all.
Multi-platform consumers are also growing in number, up 32 percent since last year, according to the study, although it's not clear how many of those consumers were previously print-only, as opposed to digital-only. In general, print-only consumers are 1.76 times more likely to be female.
Perhaps of concern to print-dependent publishers is that digital-only consumers are growing older and wealthier, up 20 percent in age and 15 percent in average household income, according to the study.