Fashion magazines’ benchmark September issues may never see the banner levels of 2007 again. But many have regained much of the ground lost in 2009, when many fall fashion issues shed 20 percent or more of their ad pages.
Closely watched Vogue, which lately has faced stiff competition from Time Inc.’s InStyle—is reporting 532 ad pages in its September issue. That’s up 24 percent from last year’s 429 but off its 2007 high of 700.
Nevertheless, Vogue publisher Susan Plagemann said, “We feel really good about the business and the brand’s performance in the market.”
Plagemann saw increased spending by the Condé Nast magazine’s core fashion, beauty and retail advertisers.
“If you look at last year, across the board, there were a lot of people spending a lot less,” she said. “There are a host of new advertisers and a host of people who are spending more.”
Other core fashion books had similarly hefty percent increases over last year’s September.
InStyle clocked in at 403 ad pages, an increase of 16 percent and breaking its 400 ad page mark for the first time since 2000.
Glamour was up 57 percent to 241; and W, up 31 percent to 247. Both are published by Condé Nast.
Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar was up 12 percent, to 302.
September and March issues, with their high reader visibility, are key months for marketers and serve as a barometer of the health of one of the biggest magazine categories.
Lou Cona, evp of the Condé Nast Media Group, contended that the relative importance of those issues has changed somewhat. “There will always be a big push by advertisers in those key fashion months, but I think there is more of a year-round effort by luxury advertisers to reach consumers,” he said.
Perhaps befitting consumers’ still-shaky confidence, Time Inc.’s People StyleWatch, which shows readers how to mimic celebs’ looks on the cheap, remains one of the fast-growing titles. StyleWatch was up 54 percent for its September issue (albeit off a small base, with 135 ad pages). Advertisers that were new to the issue that month ran the gamut, from Levi’s to Marc Jacobs.