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By Zoe Szuch

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By Nicole Blake

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By Jen McLeod

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Joni Mitchell Never Lies

By Vakis Boutsalis

Top 10 dental adhesives, top 15 ways to accessorize your walker, fashion magazine cover model – Joni Mitchell. Is this the future of Canadian magazines? 

In the next 10 years, the population of Canadians over the age of 45 will increase by 2.85 million, while the number of people under 45 will decrease by about 100,000.

By 2031, approximately one-quarter of the Canadian population will be senior citizens. In other words, Canadians are getting older, and the magazine industry may want to take note. An older population means certain magazines will need to change how they operate.

Change, however, may benefit the bottom line according to business consultant Richard A. Loreto. As the president of RAL Consulting, a firm that specializes in demographic analysis, Loreto feels the magazine industry is poised to do well in an aging society. Loretto says when you look at consumer spending data you find that most of the people buying magazines are 45 and older. This is the same demographic that is going to experience the most growth over the next decade.

So it seems that as Canadians grow older, prospects increase for the magazine world. Still, it is up to each publication to capitalize on the opportunities presented. In that light, Loreto has some advice for the magazine industry.

Tip #1 – Know your demographic
“Really, really be mindful of the demographics. Don’t just superficially be aware of them. In other words, do some real research, or have someone do it for you,” Loreto says. “(There is) an opportunity for growth in certain segments. And those
segments from an age point of view are 45 and over.” However, utilizing the numbers goes beyond merely looking at ages. Ultimately, demographic analysis should help inform your content. “You wouldn’t bring out a magazine about renting your first apartment for that (45-plus) older crowd. They’ve done that.”

Tip #2 – Look at the trends
“Know which areas are going to be hot and which are not. There will still be a youth market but it is not a growing market in Canada. It’s a stable to slightly declining market in the next 10, 20 years in terms of numbers. And so you are in a market situation where you are fighting for a larger share – but not of growth – you are fighting for a share of what already exists. (Whereas) in the 45-plus category there are all types of opportunity for growth.”
This doesn’t mean old folk singers will soon be gracing the cover of your favorite fashion magazine. As Loreto puts it, “On the one hand you have the nostalgia of Joni Mitchell. On the other hand you are fighting the trends that as people get older they spend less on their clothing.”

Tip # 3 – Appreciate your product
“From a technological point of view don’t underestimate the real experience of holding a newspaper or magazine,” said Loreto, adding “one’s ability and willingness to use technology declines with age. Don’t believe all the advertisements of the 65-year-old playing on the computer. That 65-year-old would probably be golfing, not playing computer games. As people get older, Loreto says “it is far better to have a magazine or newspaper in ones’ hands that you can actually read, that you can manipulate and take anywhere, than it is to crowd around your computer.”

The facts are the over-45 crowd is the one spending the money on magazines, the over-45 crowd is the one experiencing the biggest growth, and the over-45 crowd is the one with the discretionary income. It makes sense, then, that the biggest opportunity in magazines is in appealing to the fastest growing demographic in Canada.