Keep on your toes, there's no room for beautiful dreamers The UK magazine market has grown to reflect an increasing interest by consumers in health and beauty. The sector, which only a few years ago consisted of a handful of regular and occasional titles, now has a solid core of monthlies peppered by a constant flow of new launches. Eve Cameron, editor of Zest magazine ­ aimed at 25 to 34-year-old women "seeking to make positive changes to health, fitness and beauty habits" ­ explains: "When Zest launched in 1994 we created the [health and beauty] genre ­ retailers didn't know where to put us. But that's changed now ­ the sector is bigger and recognised as a sector in its own right." And the reason for such recognition, according to Catherine Turner, editor of IPC's Marie Claire Health & Beauty, is simple. "There is a health & beauty boom," she says. "You just have to look at the figures for gym membership ­ they're going through the roof, so is the spend on health and beauty products." Turner points to the advertising spend in the magazines as a further indication of the market's health. "Figures just in for the year to date to April show the whole market is up 8%," she says. This buoyancy has not passed the publishing houses by, with all the major ­ and many smaller ­ publishers represented in the sector. The bestselling title in the market is Emap's Top Santé Health & Beauty, which posted 161,242 overall in the last ABCs, a slight increase on the previous year. However, the magazine, which promotes a "holistic" approach to health and beauty, is not resting on its laurels, having recently made some changes under new editor Juliette Kellow. These include a revamp of some of its regular sections plus the introduction of new features including a Healthy start section, Beauty Workshop, Ask the Editor and celebrity interviews. Top Santé leads its nearest rival, NatMags' Zest, by a comfortable 42,153 copies overall. Nevertheless, Zest has shown consistent growth and was up 1.6% year-on-year in the last ABCs. However, the title showed a 7% period-on- period decline, which editor Cameron attributes to the seasonal nature of the market. She explains: "The first half is better than the second due to the psychology of women. In January you have new year's resolutions and then in the latter part of that period ­ the lead-up to summer ­ women start thinking about looking their best so we expect sales to be stronger then." And while the sector may be booming generally, fierce competition means survival of the fittest applies. Shape made an admirable recovery from last period's year-on-year fall with an increase of 22% on December 1999 following its acquisition by Dennis Publishing. But Attic Futura's Shine positively failed to do so in the last audit, falling a dramatic 17.4% overall. Nevertheless, the ABC of 85,389 was enough to keep it in third place. Just behind Shine, IPC's Marie Claire Health & Beauty ­ aimed at ABC1 women aged 25 to 30 ­ increased its period-on-period sales while dropping 4% year-on-year. Turner attributes the drop to the title's change of frequency last July, saying: "When you go from being bi-monthly to monthly you usually expect to drop 15% so we're very pleased with 4% ­ plus we've increased our market share." Turner says that the title ­ which relaunched at the time of its frequency change, with new editorial format and new logo ­ has now established its own identity while continuing to benefit from the strength of the Marie Claire brand. "We have a captive audience with the Marie Claire brand and people associate the brand with certain standards, which has helped the magazine. Our unique selling point is that we're the only international glossy women's brand in the health & beauty sector." A more recent relaunch in the sector is Emap's Here's Health magazine, which made significant changes from the February issue following a 12% year-on-year decrease in circulation. However, the magazine has already begun clawing back readers, with sales up 22% since February according to Emap Esprit. The magazine, which has been running since 1956, is now "modern and fresher" and content changes include a six-page natural homes and gardens section, an in-depth section on a topical growth interest area such as Eastern therapies, and regular celebrity input. Editor Colette Harris says the changes aim to capitalise on the recent growth in interest in natural health by bringing in new readers. She says: "Natural health has become more mainstream ­ five years ago people thought aromatherapy was bonkers. Now Boots does its own range and it's become more a part of people's lives." Here's Health's introduction of regular celebrity coverage ­ flagged up on the cover ­ reflects a common trend in this market, with market leader Top Santé recently introducing a regular celebrity interview, and Marie Claire Health & Beauty is making celebrities a regular part of its format. Interestingly, Harris asserts that it is the celebrities themselves that have helped fuel the current interest in alternative lifestyles. "Celebrities like Sting and Madonna are into everything from yoga to organic food and people want to know more about them." However, Zest's Cameron says: "As far as celebrities are concerned, our panel research shows the reader doesn't want that from our magazine. Zest is a me me me' read. They want to read about people they can identify with ­ that's why our real life stories are really popular." As far as marketing is concerned, Zest combines news stand activity with occasional covermounts. "With covermounts, what we've found works are supplements, such as the one on cross-training, that add value to the magazine. We don't want to get into a cycle of worthless covermounts on issues ­ it has to reflect brand values," Cameron says. MCH&B also spends marketing budget on covermounts but Turner says: "We know there are big seasonal pushes around January/February and then coming up to summer, and we tend to covermount then with things like supplements." The magazine also plans to advertise in store this summer with posters at point of sale. Here's Health's Harris says that, in line with the revamp, she is looking for new ways of promoting her title: "We are interested in developing trade promotions ­ things like exclusives to supermarkets with perhaps link saves to organic foods. We would be interested in hearing ideas or being approached by people." Recent launches into the sector have been blurring the boundaries between health & beauty and lifestyle magazines with titles such as Bare, a "wellbeing" magazine from John Brown Publishing centring editorial around health and beauty but preferring to be sited with women's lifestyle titles. Another blurred boundary is that of slimming titles. Although classified by ABC as a small, three-strong sector, slimming magazines have big fat circulations. Slimming World Magazine posted a whopping 244,726 at the news stands in the last ABCs while Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Magazine came in at 161,910. Both titles support the nationwide slimming clubs of the same name, with a captive audience that already values the brand. Meanwhile, Emap's Slimming, which posted 93,063 in the last audit, is hot on the heels of its competitors. Following its February relaunch, Emap Esprit says sales are up 30% issue on issue. Top Santé Health & Beauty £2 M Frontline Latest news stand ABC 129,530 Zest £2.70 M Comag Latest news stand ABC 95,152 Shine £2.60 M Frontline Latest news stand ABC 78,334 Marie Claire Health & Beauty £2.80 M MarketForce Latest news stand ABC 71,369 Shape £2.50 M Seymour Latest news stand ABC 37,103 Here's Health £2.40 M Frontline Latest news stand ABC 22,350 Real Health & Beauty £2.30 Every two months Frontline Latest news stand ABC n/a Wellbeing £2.70 Quarterly Comag Latest news stand ABC n/a Health & Fitness £2.50 M Comag Latest news stand ABC n/a Slimming World £2.10 Every two months Seymour Latest news stand ABC 244,726 Slimming £1.95 M Frontline Latest news stand ABC 87,133 Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness £2 Every two months Comag Latest news stand ABC 161,910 {{CTN }}