Digital-Only Mag Readers Skew Young and Affluent

November 22, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Household Income | Magazines | Media & Entertainment | Men | Mobile Phone | Newspapers | Women | Youth & Gen X

gfk-digital-mag-readers.jpgA profile of adults who read magazines only on digital platforms shows they are more likely to be well-educated, affluent young men, according to data released in November by GfK MRI. Data from GfK’s “Survey of the American Consumer” indicates Millennials make up 54% of all digital-only magazine readers, with an index score of 178, meaning they are 78% more likely than the general population to be digital-only magazine readers. By contrast, Boomers make up just one-fifth of the digital-only magazine reading population, far behind the American average with an index score of 61. Americans with at least a Bachelor’s degree make up 42% of the digital-only reader population, with an index score of 151, while households with annual income of over $100k per year make up 36% of the digital-only audience, with an index score of 143. Meanwhile, men (63%) are almost twice as likely as women (37%) to read magazines only on digital platforms.

These findings are similar to results from the Fall 2011 wave of Affinity’s American Magazine Study [pdf], which found that the demographic profile of print readers differs from readers of digital magazine content. For example, while males make up 46% of the print audience, they account for 49% of the digital reader population. According to the study, digital readers are also more likely to be college graduates than print readers (36% vs. 31%) and are on average slightly younger, with a median age of 41, compared to 47 for print readers. Among the 46% of respondents who did not report accessing magazines in digital form, 54% said they just preferred reading the printed version of magazines, while 18% said they would probably read or view magazine content digitally at some point in the future.

1 in 10 Only Read Online

According to the GfK survey, digital-only readers represent 11% of the total gross magazine audience. From March through October 2011, the total gross magazine audience – defined as the number of consumer exposures to magazine-branded content on any platform, including magazines printed on paper – was approximately 1.6 billion. Of those, 166 million were exposures only on desktop or laptop computers, tablets, e-readers or smartphones, that did not involve printed content. A further 135 million accessed magazine content on both digital and print platforms.

Online Newspaper Readers Also Affluent, Educated

Some similarities exist among newspaper website visitors: according to a Scarborough Research study released in November, adults who have visited a newspaper website in the past 30 days are 48% more likely than all internet-using adults to hold a post-graduate degree, 38% more likely to have annual household incomes of over $250k, and 33% more likely to live in homes valued at over $1M. They are also 31% more likely than all internet-using adults to be employed in professional/managerial positions, 20% more likely to have taken 3 or more trips outside the continental US in the past 3 years, 25% more likely to live in a household that owns an e-reader, and 19% more likely to live in a household that owns a smartphone.

New Orleans Tops Among Cities

According to the Scarborough study, the following cities are among the top local markets for American internet-using adults who have visited newspaper websites in the past 30 days: New Orleans (53%), Boston (51%), Syracuse (50%), and Philadelphia (44%), followed closely by Washington DC, San Francisco, and New York (all at 43%).

About the Data: When conducting its national Survey of the American Consumer, GfK MRI interviews approximately 26,000 U.S. adults in their homes each year, asking about their use of media, their consumption of more than 6,000 products in 550 categories, their lifestyles and their attitudes.

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