Uniós beavatkozás az e-kereskedelembe
Potential new antitrust investigations and broaden dialogue with national competition authorities
The insight gained from the sector inquiry will enable the Commission to target EU antitrust enforcement in European e-commerce markets, which will include opening further antitrust investigations. In February 2017, we already informed you that the Commission already opened three separate investigations into holiday accommodation, PC video games distribution and consumer electronics pricing practices that may limit competition. As mentioned above, it is likely that the Commission will open more investigations, similar to those already launched at the beginning of this year. Consistent interpretation of EU competition rules on e-commerce related practices is essential for businesses when devising their distribution strategies in the EU. On the basis of the sector inquiry findings, the Commission will therefore broaden the dialogue with national competition authorities within the European Competition Network on e-commerce-related enforcement to achieve this. More enforcement by the Commission will also provide guidance to stakeholders on specific e-commerce related practices.
Sector inquiry as “leverage” to adapt business practices
The Commission mentions that the sector inquiry they performed has already encouraged companies to review their commercial practices on their own initiative This happened for instance for some companies active in the clothing industry but also companies active in other retail sectors.
Main findings on consumer goods
The report confirms that the growth of e-commerce over the last years and, in particular, online price transparency and price competition, had a significant impact on companies' distribution strategies and consumer behavior. The final results of the sector inquiry highlight the following market trends:
The Commission mentions that some of these practices can be justified, for example in order to improve the quality of product distribution. Others, however, may unduly prevent consumers from benefiting from greater product choice and lower prices in e-commerce and therefore justify Commission’s actions to ensure compliance with EU competition rules.
It is important to note that the results of the e-commerce sector inquiry do not appear to question the principles of the Commission's approach to selective distribution as reflected in the current rules for vertical agreements between companies operating at a different level of the distribution chain
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