Data 2020: Competition in digital markets

Fri Feb 21, 2020
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Digital services such as social media, e-commerce, peer-to-peer platforms, search, and online advertising pose a number of challenges to competition policy: they are international, evolve quickly, and it can sometimes be hard for new entrants to compete

Data 2020: Competition in digital markets

Competition in digital markets is one of the areas we’ve identified in our Data 2020 landscape review to help organisations understand hot topics in the world of data in 2020 – from digital competition to data rights

Digital services such as social media, e-commerce, peer-to-peer platforms, search, and online advertising pose a number of challenges to competition policy: they are international, evolve quickly, and it can sometimes be hard for new entrants to compete.

Online marketplaces, social media, and digital services that provide recommendations are better if they have lots of data to use. Having more data means the companies are better able to offer personalised services to their customers.

Last year, Google accounted for more than 90% of all revenues earned from search advertising in the UK, with revenues of around £6bn. Knowing that there are big companies with large amounts of data may be causing small firms entering the market to position themselves for acquisition rather than expansion, and to harvest data as quickly as possible in order to be competitive.

The UK Digital Competition Expert Panel was set up in 2018 to consider the potential opportunities and challenges the emerging digital economy may pose for competition policy. Among other things, it recommended more standards for data portability and increased access to data to reduce barriers to entry.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority is carrying out a market study into online platforms and the digital advertising market. Its interim report includes potential measures such as providing access to click-and-query data and greater transparency around advertising.

The European Commission is also examining how to adapt competition law for the digital era.

  • Identifying alternative data business models
  • Increasing data portability and interoperability
  • Increasing both data protection and data access to promote competition
  • Defining market dominance and consumer harm when many digital products are nominally free
  • International discussion of competition policy, and its interaction with other geo-political issues

This is not an exhaustive list of resources. If you provide tools or resources in this topic, please let us know by emailing [email protected]

  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  • Competition & Markets Authority
  • Digital Competition Expert Panel
  • European Commission, Directorate-General for Competition
  • Open Data Institute
  • Open Markets Institute
  • Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State

This is not an exhaustive list of all organisations working in this area. If your organisation is working on this topic and you’d like to be included in this list, please let us know via [email protected]

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