The Commission publishes report on e-commerce
30 June 2017
On 10 May 2017, the European Commission published its final report on the sector inquiry into the electronic commerce of consumer goods and digital content. In the report, the Commission identifies a number of business practices that may restrict competition that the Commission will examine more closely. The report includes important conclusions in respect of selling on on-line marketplaces and requirements for distributors to operate brick and mortar shops.
BackgroundIn May 2015, the Commission launched a sector inquiry into the electronic commerce ("e-commerce") of consumer goods and digital content. The sector inquiry forms part of the Digital Single Market strategy.
The objective of the inquiry was to obtain greater insight into the market tendencies and the business practices that have become increasingly popular during the last decade in relation to e-commerce of consumer goods and digital content, including to ensure compliance with competition rules.
Main findings of the inquiryGenerally, it appears from the Commission's inquiry that several types of business practices in e-commerce of consumer goods and digital content may restrict competition.
The inquiry in particular addresses the following issues:
- Pricing restrictions
- Price differentiation
- Restrictions on selling on on-line marketplaces
- Selective distribution systems - the requirement to operate a brick and mortar shop
The inquiry's importance to businesses engaged in e-commerceThe Commission's inquiry into the e-commerce sector is an important first step in its endeavours to ensure that all businesses engaged in e-commerce comply with competition rules.
The Commission advised in connection with the publication of the final report that it will make further inquiries with respect to e-commerce.
In February 2017, the Commission commenced inquiries into possible competition restrictions in the market for consumer electronics; and in June 2017, the Commission opened investigations into the distribution practices of the clothing company Guess.
Read the Commission's report.
Read the Commission's working document.