LAW AND ECONOMY: EUROPEAN UNION - ONLINE MARKETS - CASE LAW - COMPETITION POLICY - VERTICAL RESTRAINTS - THEORIES OF HARM - PRICE RESTRAINTS - EXCLUSIVE AND SELECTIVE DISTRIBUTION

Vertical restraints and e-commerce

In this paper, I present how e-commerce has affected market strategies and competition in European markets and I analyze the economic and legal aspects of vertical restraints that are commonly applied in online markets. By combining available empirical evidence with theories of harm and by reviewing relevant case law I define the main anticompetitive concerns related to each category of vertical restraints. While the competition policy framework is adequate to address these concerns, we need updated guidelines that provide guidance on how the new vertical restraints linked to e-commerce should be treated. I provide recommendations over the priorities and challenges that need to be addressed in light of the preparation of the new vertical agreements guidelines of 2022. [1]

I. Introduction 1. Online purchases are growing rapidly within the European Union (EU), generating benefits for the broader European society. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) exhibits an average annual growth rate of 22%, surpassing €200 billion in 2014 and reaching a share of 7% of total retail sales. [2] Even if the increasing pattern in total sales was reversed after 2007 (with the crisis being quoted as one of the main reasons for that), e-commerce continued to grow over the years in a non-concave way (see Figure 1). This suggests at least some degree of substitution between online and offline channels of commerce. A Figure is available in the PDF version of this Article 1. The market disruptive forces of e-commerce 2. The development of e-commerce has impacted both demand and

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Georgios Petropoulos, Vertical restraints and e-commerce, February 2018, Concurrences Review N° 1-2018, Art. N° 86057, www.concurrences.com

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