Record breaking September Issues heading to newsstands – ad pages jump 18%

The Chinese zodiac calls 2013 the “year of the snake”, but it may be more apropos to change it to the “year of the September Issue”. The iconic September Issue just got bigger as Vogue along with Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, W and many other fashion industry stalwarts will appear as much as 18% larger behind huge increase in ad-page sales, according to a report from AdAge.  This news could bode well for the fashion and retail industries as a whole.

The annual September publishing period is paramount to the industry.  It drove the plot of “The Devil Wears Prada” and was the subject of 2009’s “The September Issue” documentary showcasing the central role it plays.  In fact, the movie recognizes that there were 644 pages allocated to the 2009 issue, while 128 were for editorial purposes, meaning some 516 pages were dedicated to high-priced ad-space.

Trailer for “The September Issue” (2009) showcasing icon Anna Wintour and the making of the seminal Vogue edition:

Ad sales, which drive revenues for most large fashion media outlets have been lackluster even in the post-recession environment. With the fall season’s arrival and the holiday shopping season on the horizon, the “September Issue” has universally been regarded as the most important for fashion publishers and media as fall collections, new launches, New York Fashion Week, and back-to-school intersect to drive massive sales. For media players it is the largest sales and a vital marker for their year.

Reports have indicated a slump in advertising sales for 2013, but these new record-breaking fashion advert sales bode well on several fronts.  Many had questioned whether digital media had overtaken print publishers in driving fashion sales.  Although digital media and online sales may have played into the mix, traditional fashion magazine publishing was clearly the winner.  This news also signals that luxury brands and retailers are feeling optimism in the US as disappointing news in Europe and other regions have purportedly driven high-end consumers to the US.

AdAdge did note that  industry-leader Vogue, while coming in at 665 ad pages has yet to match it’s own 2007 September issue record of 727 ad pages.

Year over year gains according to AdAge:
Elle: 12% – 442 ad pages
Harper’s Bazaar: 10% – 397 ad pages
Marie Claire: 13.5% – 246 ad pages

Time, Inc.
InStyle: 3% – 455 ad pages

Conde Nast:
Vogue: 1% – 665 pages
W: 17% – 288 pages
Glamour: 18% – 224 pages


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