Digital Publishing
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“A growing interest for reading magazines”: Subscription app sees 62% rise in downloads globally

Mindfulness & Health, Puzzles and Home & Renovation reading soars during lockdown

With nations across the world having to adapt to restrictions caused by the coronavirus, magazine subscription app Readly has noted a clear shift in the reading habits on its platform. With its ‘all-you-can-read’ subscribers turning to Readly for facts, inspiration, entertainment and distraction, a pattern is evolving in different markets.     

British Reading Habits Changing 

The analysis compared user activity during March 2020 compared with February 2020 and March 2019. A number of categories showed an increase outpacing previous months for British readers, in particular: 

•    Crosswords and Puzzles: Up by 28% since last month (and 23% since last year)
•    Mindfulness & Health: Up 21% since last month (and 19% since last year)
•    Home and Renovation: Up 18% since last month (and 14% since last year)
•    Gardening: Up 14% since last month (and 13% since last year)

With a constant stream of coronavirus related news and social media updates, and a population learning to live in confinement, it appears readers are looking at solutions to help with anxiety and to maintain their wellbeing and keep their minds sharp. In addition, with so much time set to be spent at home, undertaking small tasks to keep engaged and improve home life is clearly a priority for readers. Public Health England’s new advice on mental health and wellbeing during the outbreak supports mindfulness and focusing on activities that can boost your mood and keep your mind active and accessing a garden if possible.

Global App Downloads Increasing 

Readly has also noted a global rise in app downloads during the same periods. (March 2020, February 2020 and March 2019):

•    Up 62% when compared to March 2019
•    Up 21% compared to February 2020

We are seeing an increase in Readly app downloads in many countries due to a growing interest for reading magazines as the developments of the coronavirus outbreak are rapid. March downloads on all markets add up to a 62 percent increase compared to March 2019 and 21 percent compared to February 2020. This is one of our several growth metrics. 

Maria Hedengren, CEO at Readly

“The increased usage of Readly can also indicate a growing need for distraction as the coronavirus crisis is unfolding. Many of our 5,000 titles bring a much sought-after break from what we’re witnessing around the globe at present. 

“We aim to increase the readership of all content from our 800 publishers that can empower people to protect their health, act with compassion and stay positive whilst we overcome this massive challenge.”

Reading Habits in Europe and the US 

In other European markets and the US the reading habits have also noticeably shifted. 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 markets. Additionally, home improvements, DIY and crafts is a further indication of activities many 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, News & Politics, History and Luxury. Whilst the Swedish markets have shown a spike of interest with DIY, Hobbies and Home & Renovations during the past few weeks. In the US – Comics, Kids, Home & Renovation and Gardening categories have risen sharply.

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