Saturday , February 24 2024

Basic Difference Between Consumer and Trade Magazines

Consumer and Trade magazines are major features of the print media industry. These magazines primarily have different objectives and contents, to some extent, different target audience. However, some persons do not know the unique features of these two kinds of magazines; this is what this interesting piece strives to provide. So what is the basic difference between consumer and Trade magazines? This interesting piece by Allena Tapia published on thebalancesmb provides insight on the difference between consumer and Trade magazines. If you’re interested in understanding the environment of magazine management and production, you need to read this piece.

The Difference Between Consumer and Trade Magazines

The difference between a trade magazine and a consumer magazine (those magazines you typically find at a local newsstand or grocery store checkout line) is still unclear to many. It is essential to begin this excursion by looking at the basic concepts by first looking at consumer magazines, what they are, who they target, and where you can find them.
Consumer Magazines
Consumer magazines are targeted to the general public and have a wide audience and a wide viewpoint. Two examples are Good Housekeeping and People magazine. Good Housekeeping (one of the oldest consumer publications) reaches an audience of over 30 million each month and while it is a general interest magazine, it is also considered a “specialized” publication because it contains news and information specific to the home. People magazine has a wider range of interest because it focuses on a wide array of newsmakers (from celebrities to politicians) and is not “specialized.”
Consumer magazines are often referred to as “glossies,” especially by those in the publishing world because they are usually printed on glossy paper. This is in part because advertisers (from MBW to Gucci) pay a hefty fee to showcase their products and want them to “jump off the page.” There are literally thousands of consumer magazines produced in the United States each year and some of the major publications (like Vogue) have sister publications abroad (like French Vogue). On the flip side, not all consumer magazines are distributed nationally.

Some, like Texas Monthly, is only available locally. (in Nigeria, there are numerous consumer magazines. They include Tell, Ovation, Encomium, The News, among others).

Whether it’s Time magazine, Men’s Health, Rolling Stone or Elle Decor, weekly and monthly consumer publications can be purchased either by subscription (at a discounted rate) or found at your local newsstand, grocery store checkout, national chains like B&N and all major airports and train stations. Many of these “travel or destination newsstands” are operated by Hudson News, the largest newsstand operation in the United States.
Trade Magazines
Nearly every profession has an industry publication, from Automotive News to Supermarket News to Advertising Age (the bible of the advertising world). There’s a saying: “You don’t read a trade magazine because you want to, you read it because you have it.” That’s because trade magazines cover topics only relevant to those working in that particular industry. Trade magazines (often referred to as “trades” or “trade journals”) offer news and information including new product listings, feature articles, and Q&A interviews.

Unlike consumer magazines sold at news stands and some other sales outlets, trade magazines are generally distributed by subscription due to their targeted contents, often focused on those within a particular profession or others interested in it. However, some trade magazines which have wider scope and cater to a large industry, like financial services, could be available at the same outlets as consumer magazines.
Trade magazines introduce readers to a specific profession or industry, the kind of businesses done there and available products, among other contents. Articles in trade magazines are written by staff editors and sometimes, freelance writers because it’s more cost-effective. Trades magazines have budget constraints because they don’t get huge advertising dollars like consumer magazines.


(With reports from


About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a writer with passion for cutting-edge news

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