Analysis Group Consultants Publish Articles on Competition in Online and Offline Retail

September 07, 2018

Six Analysis Group consultants have jointly written articles on the subject of competition in the retail industry for an “On-Topic” published in the competition law review Concurrences. Titled “Online and offline retail distribution,” the set of articles collectively assesses the effects that online shopping and distribution have had on brick-and-mortar businesses, and the dilemmas they pose for antitrust and competition enforcement as it evolves to take account of the phenomenon.

In an introduction, Principal Antoine Chapsal provides an overview of the ways that e-commerce platforms have reshaped the retail industry, and outlines the associated potential challenges for competition policy. Vice President Nikita Piankov presents a spatial framework for the economic modelling of competition between online and offline retailers, uses it to analyze some critical features of that competition, and discusses how the framework can be marshaled in the context of antitrust analysis. Vice Presidents Emily Cotton and Aaron Fix discuss how the tools that economists use to evaluate retail mergers are changing due to the increasing importance of online competition. They summarize recent decisions by competition authorities in Europe and the US, and describe how enforcers have used those tools to arrive at their decisions. Finally, Vice Presidents Claudio Calcagno and Joshua White outline some of the consumer benefits and efficiencies that digital comparison tools can bring about, while also setting out some of the competition concerns that some of their practices may raise. They close by underscoring the need for an international consensus on some key enforcement issues.

Read the articles