The Observer was the only national Sunday paper to report a year-on-year rise in circulation, according to officially audited ABC figures for the month of May.
The title, under the editorship of John Mulholland since the new year, increased its circulation in May by 0.53 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Its headline circulation figure of 453,757 is also a gain of around 1,500 copies compared with the previous month, April.
The Independent on Sunday’s circulation narrowly avoided falling below the 200,000 mark, with an average circulation in May of 200,920.
The title was hit by a 10.86 per cent monthly fall in circulation, losing 25,000 copies since April. Its year on year decline was 4.06 per cent.
The Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times both posted a circulation dip in May.
The Sunday Times was down 2.85 per cent year on year to 1,186,821, while its rival fell 2.97 per cent in the same period to 635,616.
The Sunday Herald was the worst-hit in the Sunday qualities market. Its circulation fell 15.24 per cent year on year to 47,488.
In the mid-market, the Sunday Express saw another circulation fall, down 2.36 per cent compared with April and down 11.67 per cent year on year.
The title’s circulation now stands at 657,950. This compares with the Mail on Sunday‘s 2,237,509, which is down 1.63 per cent compared with last May and 2.41 per cent month on month.
Overall, the red-top market was the worst performer in the May ABCs, down 4.67 per cent year on year overall.
This compares with a 4.06 per cent overall annual drop for the mid-markets and a 2.7 per cent decline in the qualities.
The worst performing red-top was the newly relaunched Sunday Sport, down 13.92 per cent year on year.
The paper, which sold 96,400 copies last year, now has a headline circulation of 82,977. This figure is about 3,500 down on the April figure, before the relaunch.
The People continued its circulation decline, down 11.39 per cent year on year to 646,577.
The biggest circulation Sunday paper was still the News of the World, with 3,138,815 copies in May.
This was a 4.03 per cent decline compared with the same period last year, and a 1.68 per cent month-on-month dip.
The Sunday Mail, Sunday Mirror and Daily Star Sunday all posted month-on-month circulation gains in May, but none of the red tops grew circulation year on year.
The Sunday Mirror was up 0.21 per cent compared with April, but down 2.64 per cent year on year to 1,341,179.
The Daily Star Sunday grew its circulation by 1.49 per cent month on month to 366,503, but was down 3.87 per cent year on year.
And the Sunday Mail was up 0.48 per cent on the month but down 3.45 per cent year on year to 487,579.
The Sunday market overall was down 4.08 per cent year on year and 1.35 per cent compared with April.
Around 11.95 million Sunday papers were distributed in May, compared with 12.46 million this time last year.
Sunday newspaper circulation figures:
Daily Star Sunday – 366,503 (down 3.87 per cent)
News of the World – 3,138,815 (down 4.03 per cent)
Sunday Mail – 487,579 (down 3.45 per cent)
Sunday Mirror – 1,341,179 (down 2.64 per cent)
The People – 646,577 (down 11.39 per cent)
Sunday Sport – 82,977 (down 13.92 per cent)
Sunday Express – 657,950 (down 11.67 per cent)
Sunday Post – 401,908 (down 3.72 per cent)
The Mail on Sunday – 2,237,509 (down 13.92 per cent)
Independent on Sunday – 200,920 (down 4.06 per cent)
The Observer – 453,757 (up 0.53 per cent)
Scotland on Sunday – 66,872 (down 4.4 per cent)
Sunday Herald – 47,488 (down 15.24 per cent)
The Sunday Telegraph – 635,616 (down 2.97 per cent)
The Sunday Times – 1,186,821 (down 2.85 per cent)