Audience Engagement Digital Publishing
3 mins read

“A sharp rise in readership”: Shift in reading trends across Europe during the coronavirus lockdown

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With nations across Europe having to adapt to restrictions caused by the coronavirus crisis, magazine subscription app Readly has seen a clear shift in the reading habits on its platform. A sharp rise in the readership of key categories has seen British readers turn to Mindfulness & Health, Puzzles, and DIY over the last few weeks as the crisis sets in.

Throughout Europe populations are turning to digital tools and platforms as they settle into a period of working from home and self-isolating. Readly, a leading company in Europe’s digital magazine subscription service, enables users to read their favourite magazines on their phones, tablets and laptops. With unlimited access to the app’s 5,000 magazine titles for facts, inspiration, entertainment and distraction, a clear pattern in reading trends is evolving across an isolated Europe. 

The biggest immediate shift in Britain in the last few weeks has been an increase in readership of Mindfulness & Health (+21%) and Crosswords and Puzzles (+28%). With a constant stream of coronavirus related news and social media updates, and a population learning to live in confinement, it is clear as a nation we are looking at solutions to help with anxiety and to maintain our wellbeing and mental health. Public Health England’s new advice on mental health during the outbreak supports mindfulness and focusing on activities that can boost your mood and keep your mind active. 

With so much time set to be spent at home, the readership of seasonal favourite activities from DIY & Craft (+66%), Home & Renovation (+14%) and Gardening (+13%) are all up on the same period last year as we look to undertake small tasks to keep engaged and improve our home life. Key categories have also peaked in the amount of time they are being accessed for – with 25% more time spent poring over Food & Drink magazines and 15% more on Hobby magazines.  

Ranj Begley, UK Managing Director and Chief Content Officer at Readly said: “There is an intense focus in staying up to date with in depth reading about the coronavirus crisis – something that is found in many magazines right now. But magazine reading can also be used for discovering new interests, learning new topics, being entertained or just for relaxation. 

“And with anxiety-inducing news on a constant cycle – we’ve seen critical shifts in magazine reading habits over the last few weeks as people look to both protect their sense of wellbeing and also embrace practical solutions to the ‘locked-down’ world they have suddenly found themselves in.”

With people spending an increasing amount of time at home during the crisis, the importance of taking care of body and mind is a theme that has been seen across Readly’s European markets. Additionally, home improvements, DIY and crafts is a further indication of activities many across Europe are undertaking to keep active.

With the Italian market going into lockdown ahead of other European countries, the subject of food and recipes has peaked with Italians over the last few weeks, looking for inspiration and distraction when inside, followed by subjects such as home and gossip. The German and Austrian markets have seen an almost doubling in categories such as gardening and news & politics. Whilst the Swedish markets have shown a spike of interest with DIY, hobbies and home renovations during the past few weeks.

As the coronavirus crisis continues to dominate the landscape of most European countries, the development of the reading habits and interests of the subscribers on the Readly platform will continue to evolve and reflect the need on each market.

Begley continues: “We believe that magazine reading plays an even more significant role in these trying times. With challenging social situations and greater isolation amongst populations, magazines can inspire and motivate, as well as provide verified news from established sources.”