Blog: Magazines and Chill

Millennials have been wrongfully blamed for killing a lot of industries… Diamonds, SUVs, dinner dates, night clubs, and even “starter homes”. But one industry you can’t blame millennials for killing is the magazine industry. 

According to a recent study conducted by Market Research Insight, millennials read magazines at almost double the rate of Generation X and Baby Boomers. In fact, four out of five millennials read magazines, with men tending to read magazine content on their tablets and phones, while women mostly prefer physical magazines. It’s an interesting fact, when you think about it, considering millennials are perceived to be abandoning all traditional forms of media and are notoriously difficult to sell to.

But, there are a few aspects of millennial life that make magazines very appealing. For instance, millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to take public transportation. Buses, trains, and subways. And instead of focusing on their phone while waiting for their next stop, many choose to flip through a magazine. Something entertaining, informational, and a lot less likely you push an email from your boss into your face first thing in the morning. 

Millennials tend to mistrust mainstream news media. News websites will post sensational headlines to draw in as many clicks as possible, and promote up-to-the-minute updates to a story… leading to a quantity over quality mindset. And we millennials have seen this for our entire lives. When a tragedy occurs, Television and Online news sources are always quick to name the perpetrator… only to retract the story a few hours later when actual facts arise. 

However, magazines don’t do “of the moment” reporting. They can’t. Magazines like The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Esquire dedicate months of research into their reporting. And they often report on things that TV and Online news don’t think will draw in ratings.  And so millennials, who have grown up seeing cable news scramble to fill a 24-hour news cycle, turn to magazines for reliable journalism.  

So not only are millennials reading and buying magazines more than the older generations, but a study conducted by Google Consumer Insights showed that people aged 18-34 actually prefer physical magazines and books to digital. This same group also says that they’re more likely to look into a product that is advertised in a magazine than one that’s advertised online. 

“There’s just too many internet ads,” said Lindsey Buckley, a senior at Ryerson University in Toronto. “I’ve just learned to filter them out, you know? I don’t even see the ads at the top of Google searches anymore. But I’ll pay attention to a magazine ad. They’re nicer, better designed. There’s more effort there. Makes me think it’s worth looking into.”

Meanwhile…

“I don’t like magazines anymore,” I was told by Janet Ettinger, a recently retired school teacher. “I’m older now, and the type is just too small. I’d rather just watch the news. Or at least read on a tablet where I can make the type bigger.”

So millennials may be killing starter homes, diamond earrings, night clubs, and resort vacations… but they may just be a lifeline for an industry many believe to be waning. As a millennial with a stack of magazines on my nightside table, I’d say there are more than a few good years left.

-James Somerton