2013 has been a difficult year for the newspaper industry with press regulation post-Leveson enquiry and falling sales, but online growth offers a ray of light.

As we await the latest ABCs, a look back at last month’s figures show a sharp contrast in the outlook for newspapers online and offline.

Overall, total national daily circulation was down 8.32% to 8,240,400 over 12 months:

  • The Times suffered the least with circulation down just 0.94%
  • The Mirror fell 5.91%
  • The Daily Mail lost 5.97%
  • The Telegraph was down 6.52%
  • The Guardian shrunk 10.37% putting it below 200,000 circulation
  • The Sun fell by 11.63%
  • The Star dropped by 13.19%
  • The Independent reported a 28.56% fall

The one winner, i was up 12.7%, helped by a 20p cover price.

However, online it’s a very different story.

According to last month’s Audit Bureau of Circulations figures all national newspaper sites reported double-digit month-on-month growth in January.

In brief:

Mail Online added nearly 1 million daily unique browsers month-on-month to end up with nearly 8 million – a new traffic record. The Mail site recorded a 13% rise compared with December to reach an average 7,977,039.

Guardian.co.uk also set a new traffic record with 4,319,370 average daily unique browsers, an increase of 17% month-on-month, helped by record video views that rose 40% from December to January to 11.3m across the month.

Telegraph.co.uk was up 11% month-on-month to 3,129,599 average daily unique browsers.

Sun.co.uk and Mirror Group Digital recorded 1,816,106 and 1,064,924 average daily unique browsers respectively, equivalent to month-on-months rise of 16% and 24%.

Independent.co.uk reported a 25% increase from January to 1,214,144 average daily unique browsers.

In terms of the free papers, The Evening Standard saw daily average browsers increase 45% month-on-month to 207,484 and Metro.co.uk recovered after a traffic dip in December following the launch of a more mobile-friendly site. Average daily browser numbers bounced back to 260,119.

We wait to see how the current figures look, but my bet is the trends will be much the same with online continuing to build and offline looking decidedly shaky.