Market study of digital platforms

The Swedish Competition Authority is performing a market study of the functioning of competition on digital platforms in Sweden. The purpose is for the study to illuminate the extent of competition and identify any need for measures to promote competition. To deepen our knowledge, we are inviting interested parties to contribute with input to the study. The Swedish Competition Authority has now evaluated the results of the initial consultation.

Results of the initial consultation

In November 2019, as part of the sector inquiry, the Swedish Competition Authority launched an initial consultation with stakeholders in the relevant sector. The aim was to find out what market participants thought about the perceived problems and about the practices the sector inquiry should address. The Swedish Competition Authority has now evaluated the results of the consultation. 

A total of 24 different companies, organisations and authorities took part in the consultation by means of written submissions and/or interviews. Participants included digital platforms, companies using digital platforms, Swedish and international trade associations and foreign authorities.
Many digital platform markets in Sweden work well. In some areas, however, market participants have identified problems with platforms restricting access to customer data or taking advantage of the fact that the same company can be both a customer and a competitor of the platform. The problems experienced are related to the perception that the platforms have considerable market power. The Swedish Competition Authority will address these issues in the next phase of the sector inquiry and welcomes further comments from all stakeholders.

The Swedish Competition Authority would like to thank everyone who contributed with information and comments.

Results of the initial consultation and next steps

About the market study of digital platforms

Digital platforms have had transformative effects on the entire economy. Innovative business models and technical solutions have increased efficiency in many markets, for example by facilitating for buyers and sellers to meet in new ways. This development has often had benefits for consumers in the form of an increased range of products and services, and lower prices.

However, a number of reports have highlighted how the same features that contribute to the efficiency of the platforms, such as network effects, economies of scale and scope, and the significance of data, may lead to new competition issues. Market power may be concentrated to a few companies, which makes it harder for new companies to access the markets and can eventually weaken competition, to the detriment of consumers. This development raises questions regarding both how competition rules should be applied and if there is a need for new rules.

The duties of the Swedish Competition Authority include highlighting barriers to effective competition, following the developments in its field of responsibility, and performing broader studies of competition conditions within specific industries or markets in the private sector. The Swedish Competition Authority also has a strategic focus on investigating, in various ways, how digitalization impacts on competition in Sweden.

On the back of this, we are now performing a market study of competition on the markets for digital platforms in Sweden. The purpose is for the study to illuminate the extent of competition and identify any need for measures to promote competition.

The scope of the study

A delimitation has been made based on a review of which areas have been included in the market studies of other countries, and the supervision matters opened and tips received by the Swedish Competition Authority. We initially focused our study on:

  • Digital advertising
  • Mobile app stores
  • Food delivery
  • Audiobooks
  • Digital payment service
  • Digital market places

In light of the issues the Swedish Competition Authority intends to investigate in more detail, the next steps will focus on five of the six markets that were initially selected – digital advertising, mobile app stores, food deliveries, audiobooks and digital marketplaces.

Regarding the sixth market, digital payment services, the Swedish Competition Authority considers that the issues raised are not primarily related to digital platforms. In several cases, the problems rather pertain to the market power of banks or a lack of compliance of the so-called PSD2 directive, issues which are to a large extent outside the scope of this inquiry.

We are interested in further comments

The Swedish Competition Authority is eager to receive information and comments from stakeholders with experience and knowledge of the issues raised in the consultation, but no later than 15 April 2020. In particular we welcome comments from:

  • App owners / developers
  • Stakeholders across the digital advertising-chain
  • Publishing houses
  • Restaurants with home delivery
  • E-commerce system providers

Written comments can be submitted in English.

Please send written comments and submissions to digitalaplattformar@kkv.se

Schedule

In spring 2020 we will conduct in-depth interviews and collect information from market participants through orders to provide information and surveys.

The results of the sector inquiry will be published in December 2020.

Contacts for more information on the market study

Please contact:

David Nordström,
phone +46(0)8 700 16 06,
e-mail david.nordstrom@kkv.se

Related information

Last updated: