Commentary

Vox Media Can Add To Ecommerce Ambitions With 'Punch'

Vox Media this week bought Punch, the media brand devoted to cocktail culture, as the publisher seeks to expand upon its coverage of food and restaurants with Eater. The acquisition adds to the opportunities for Vox to boost and diversify ecommerce revenue.

The company, whose brands also include New York magazine, the Verge, Polygon and SB Nation, this month hired Eric Karp as senior vice president of brand licensing, a role that will have a direct effect on Vox’s ecommerce operations. Karp previously had the same title at digital publisher BuzzFeed. While there, he oversaw partnerships with major retailers including Walmart, Target, Amazon, Macys, Kaufland, Interspar and Big W, according to an announcement.

The U.S. ecommerce market has more room to grow than the digital ad market, which is showing signs of maturing. The growth rate for the U.S. digital ad market will slow from about 26% this year to 11% by 2024, according to eMarketer. That downward trajectory suggests growth will reach the single digits later this decade.
The digital share of total U.S. media spending will grow from 67% this year to 75% by 2024, eMarketer estimated. It’s too early to tell when the digital share will top out. The online marketplace also is becoming more crowded as retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Target sell ad space on their websites. The goal is to reach consumers when they’re most ready to fill up their online shopping carts.

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Ecommerce during the second quarter of this year made up about 13% of total retail sales, up from about 5% in early 2012, according to the Census Bureau. The market still has more room to grow, especially as content and commerce become even more integrated than they are today. That synthesis presents a revenue growth opportunity for Vox.
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