September issues of fashion and beauty magazines are usually packed with ads from retailers and particularly luxury marketers trying to capture audiences. Last year Condé Nast’s Vogue, weighed in at a hefty 4.9 pounds, packed with 725 pages of glossy ads.

This year as the September issues begin hitting newsstands, two-thirds of the 16 top fashion and beauty magazines by number of ad pages are smaller than a year ago. Condé Nast’s top publications W magazine has 18% fewer advertising pages. Vogue has 674 pages of ads this year, down 7% and Hearst’s Cosmopolitan is six pages, or 3.2%, lighter.

Luxury marketers have a history of relying on magazines to target audiences by readers who flip pages as much to see ads for the latest fall fashions as to read the stories, a factor that help keeps advertisers loyal. Additionally, core marketers in luxury goods, clothing, jewelry and beauty products have been slower than advertisers in other categories to shift spending to the Internet.
Magazines have often had the luxury of getting as much as $120,000 for one full-page ad, which this demand for service is disappearing. However, the appeal of fashion and beauty magazines’

September issues hasn’t suddenly vanished. Those pages are still considered a must-buy for many advertisers wanting to pitch new car models, back-to-school shopping and fall fashions.
Top luxury marketers like Oscar de la Renta have larger advertising budget and will increase those budgets for September ads. But in most cases, increased spending by advertisers such as Oscar de la Renta isn’t covering the cuts by midtier marketers.

Most magazine executives aren’t optimistic about a turnaround. Revealing that advertisers are increasingly willing to yank ad spending at the last minute and are less inclined to make commitments far in advance.

If top luxury marketers increase Internet spending what impact could this have on magazines? The magazine industry will need to focus on building a brand that will sustain over just an image, the same that is need for luxury marketers.

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