Auto Trader magazine comes to an end as the digital age takes over

Auto Trader has become a household name since its advent in the mid 70s; for anyone looking to buy or sell a car, the standard approach would be to place an ad in the iconic magazine, or buy a copy and flick through the thousands of adverts in the hunt for your new motor. This popular publication was truly the lifeblood of the car industry, both for dealers and private sellers. However, as life moves evermore towards digital media, it’s with much sadness that we have learned of the imminent closure of the print version of this well-known and much-loved magazine.

Auto Trader magazine

Falling circulation and revenue

Many years ago, Auto Trader was a veritable tome, nearing phonebook proportions and jam packed full of new and used cars for sale. Its advertising revenue was immense, and it seemed that it was an institution that would always be there. However, since the launch of the Auto Trader website, circulation volumes of the print magazine have fallen rapidly, with the money generated through its ads almost halving in recent years. This led to a decision from its publisher, The Trader Media Group, to say goodbye to the hard-copy version and focus its efforts solely on the website.

While this may come as a surprise to many, we’ve done our own investigating – talking to various motor traders who would always have the latest copy of the magazine sat on their desks, we found that it was no longer part of the office furniture – making it little wonder that the publishing group have decided to call it a day.

Technology is the new trading space

As many businesses are finding, modern technology is changing the way consumers access the products they want to buy. With people surfing online via multiple devices, and with smartphones and tablets becoming more commonplace than ever before, it’s really no surprise that online visitors to the Auto Trader website have risen by 11% in just one year. During this time, the number of its visitors using a mobile device has grown from 1.1 million to 2.3 million – showing the influence that technology is having on purchasing habits.

If you had asked anybody 10 or 15 years ago whether they envisaged this giant of car advertising closing down, no one would have believed it possible. But the online version has eclipsed the value of the print edition, and this much more accessible and immediate version now boasts 11 million unique visitors per month. The website offers a much more intuitive search function and easy listing tools, adding to its appeal for those who want to buy or sell cars more efficiently.

So, while we’re sorry to see the print magazine come to an end, from a business perspective, we can see why it makes perfect sense. Farewell Auto Trader, thanks for the memories!