For years, magazine publishers (and the brands who buy ads inside their pages) have enjoyed heavy impulse sales from bored supermarket shoppers, trapped in checkout lines, who find themselves leafing through Vogue or Cosmo while waiting to pay for groceries.
But that’s all coming to an end thanks to mobile phones, Bloomberg reports.
Because shoppers are now checking Facebook or Instagram or their texts while they wait, they’re suddenly blind to the racks of magazines (and gum and candy):
The problem has worsened in the past 18 months, as more than half of all Americans now carry smartphones, [John Loughlin, general manager of Hearst’s magazine unit,] said. Single-copy sales of U.S. consumer magazines fell 8.2 per cent in the second half of 2012 from the year-earlier period, according to the industry group Alliance for Audited Media.
We told you about mobile supermarket blindness back in February, when Hearst discovered that single-copy sales of Cosmopolitan had declined 18.5 per cent in the second half of 2012.
It’s a new and separate threat to “showrooming,” the phenomenon of shoppers comparing prices online and elsewhere on their phones while browsing in the physical store.
Companies are scrambling to get their in-store promotions placed in areas other than the checkout aisle, in order to ambush shoppers when they’re not looking at their phones.
Cosmo did a deal with Diet Coke, in which shoppers in Kroger are offered $3 off a six-pack and a copy of the magazine, Bloomberg says:
The problem of “mobile blinders is a huge factor,” said Marshal Cohen, an analyst at NPD Group. “Companies have to rethink the in-store experience.”
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