Puzzle magazines continue to be the strongest category for growth in the magazine market, according to the latest analysis figures seen by RN. 

The category is the only area to experience growth over the past 12 months, with retail sales value (RSV) up by 1.9% to the end of December 2018, equating to more than £44m. 

The category analysis put together by Seymour places puzzle magazines behind categories such as women’s, TV listings and children’s in terms of RSV.  

Within the wider category, almost all sub-sectors within puzzles are also rising. 

The biggest growth area is children’s puzzles – up 8.2% in RSV terms and 7.5% in year-on-year sales. 

Widening its scope to take in younger puzzlers is an example of how publishers are introducing and testing new ideas, as managing editor at Keesing Media Guy Haslam noted. “It’s a competitive market and everyone is keen to innovate,” he said.

As well as more children’s titles, Keesing has introduced tearing pads, where on-the-go puzzlers can tear out a few pages without taking the whole magazine with them. 

Haslam added: “The market is very buoyant now. It’s become even more obvious as other categories suffer. 

“People can get news and gossip on the internet, but for crosswords or word searches, paper is still the perfect medium.”

Puzzler Media’s promotions and innovations manager, Shameem Begg, put its continued success down to there being no substitute for puzzle magazines. “It’s the best- performing sector and it was the same last year,” she said. 

“It’s a pen-and-paper activity; for parents it means children aren’t on screens. Doing puzzles online isn’t as satisfying. These things can require a lot of thinking.”

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