While 15 of 24 categories saw ad pages decline in 2011, Media Life reports that books targeting the “haves” versus the “have nots” are doing just fine. Lifestyle and luxury titles all saw gains, in the categories of fashion, recreation, home and general interest. Media Life (quoting data from MagazineRadar) reported that luxury apparel books increased their ad pages 11% in Q3 2011, and luxury magazines in general by 6%. That, opposed to a print book decline of 5.6% for the quarter.
Some of the winners: Departures, at a 43.3% jump; Architectural Digest at 9.1%; W, 5.6%; and Power & Motoryacht at 24.9%.
The reason is simply that upper-class readers weathered and recovered from the recession better than did the middle and lower class. Media Life quoted a Pew study which found that middle class families have lost 23 percent of net worth, versus 12% for the upper class. Those losses for the upper class were largely in property values and stocks—they continue to pay bills, versus lower-income consumers.
Publishers Information Bureau data also reveal that the two books that gained the most ad pages in Q4 2011 were AARP the Magazine with 84.7 percent, and Reader's Digest Large Edition, up 117.8 percent. Parenting magazine with their younger demographics were down 12.8 percent, says Media Life.