Market trends at 30 June 2020

Until February, the Trade Books market had decreased in value by -1.1% compared to the same period in 2019.
Due to the Covid-19 emergency and related health measures (closure of bookstores), in March alone, the market fell by -29.2%, further worsening to -45.8% in April, as the e-commerce channel alone was unable to compensate for the loss of sell-outs on physical channels.
The gradual reopening, at the beginning of May, of independent bookstores and bookstore chains has favoured an important recovery in the market which, in the last six weeks of the semester, resulted in double-digit growth, with growth in June compared with the same month of the previous year of +13.5%.
On a progressive level, the market recorded a drop of -10.1% in value at 30 June compared to the first half of 2019.

In 2020, May surveys highlighted the following trend as for magazines sector:

  • in an advertising market down by -28.3% overall, all channels recorded a contraction: digital (-17.2%), TV (-24.5%), newspapers (-27.4%), radio (-39.2%) and magazines (-41.5%) ;
  • the circulation market for magazines fell by -11.3%; Mondadori’s market share was 23.7% (compared with 25.6% in 2019 on a like-for-like basis, excluding the sale of Sale&Pepe, Cucina Moderna, Starbene, Tu Style and Confidenze) ;
  • the collateral market recorded a negative performance of -3.7%.

It is therefore clear that the market, in particular the advertising market, was heavily affected by the negative effects of the Covid-19 health emergency.


After the months of lockdown, the book market in Italy seems to be showing clear signs of recovery. If in April the loss of turnover year on year was -20%, in July it halved to -11%. This is revealed by research carried out by the Italian Publishers’ Association’s (Aie) Research Office based on Nielsen and IE – Informazioni Editoriali data, which also reveals a partial increase in the market share of bookshops and large-scale distribution compared to online stores in recent months.
A sign that, since mid-June, Italians have returned to buying in bookshops and large-scale retailers as much as in the previous year, while online purchases have increased compared to 2019, thus allowing an initial recovery in the market share lost in previous months.
The book market points the way to a new start for the entire Italian economy, also according to a survey on the cultural consumption forecasts of Italians post lokdown, according to which respondents expect to read more books in the second half of 2020 than they did in the closing months.

As consumer magazine revenues contract, Italian publishers may use 2020 as a year of portfolio review and brand refresh, giving digital makeovers to their online brands, with upgrades including Instagram promotions, more video content and festival tie-ins. Meanwhile, the trade sector is able to retain its subscriber base due to connections with professional courses and exhibitions.

Market's evolution

Trade books -9.6% +5.5% +4.6% +4.0% +0.8% -1.1%-0.4%-0.1%4.1%5.4%2.3%1.3%-0.4%0.7%
  • Bookstore chains and e-commerce*
 n.a. +8.3%+7.5% +6.9% +0.8% -1.1% -1.3%-1.2%0.8%2.7%1.9%1.4%0.2%2.4%
  • Independent bookstores
 n.a.-1.3% -1.5% -0.6% -2.6% -2.7% -3.5%-3.2%-1.3%-2.0%-4.1%-4.8%-7.3%-6.5%
  • E-commerce
 – – – – +10.6% 8.5% 12.9%11.6%21.6%37.3%24.6%21.4%23.7%15.6%
  • Large retailers
 n.a. 0.0% -3.4% -8.0% -17.3% -18.7% -16.7%-12.5%-4.5%-12.2%-14.2%-15.4%-20.3%-15.7%
Magazines Italy
  • Circulation**
 -8.8% -12.4% -12.3% -12.3% -13.5% -8.6% -9.0%-9.1%-9.3%-10.6%-11.9%-12.7%-11,5%-10.6%
  • Advertising


 -12.2% -13.9% -15.2% -15.4% -13.1%  -8.2% -8.9%-8.6%-11.0%-6.2%-7.0%-6.1%-7.7%-4.0%


 +4.8% +3.5% +2.1% +2.0% +3.0% 4.5% 4.0%2.1%2.5%1.7%-1.0%0.6%-2.6%-2.3%
  • Add ons
 -2.1% -11.9% -7.9% -6.9% -5.6% -18.2%  -10.8%-16.4%-19.5%-21.9%-27.7%-29.7%-26.8%-12.8%

* As of May 2019, GfK expanded its coverage panel by increasing the survey of e-commerce operators; as a result, the overall market value and the relative yoy differences were re-profiled and the details by channel were revised by merging book chains and e-commerce.

* Starting from 1H 2016, the % variations refer to the whole circulation market trends (newstands + subscriptions)

Trade book: GFK (value)
Magazine Italy: circulation, internal estimate (value) – advertising, Nielsen (value)