Competition Commission to launch probe into online markets

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The Competition Commission (Comp Comm) has the likes of Takealot, Airbnb, Uber Eats and Google Play in its sights, as it’s preparing to launch its Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry (OIPMI) tomorrow (18th May 2021).

According to a report on Business Tech, the Competition Commission says that its investigation will cover online markets in which the sales of goods and services are transacted between businesses and consumers. This essentially means that e-commerce marketplaces, in which consumers can buy anything from food, to software, to accommodation, to travel (on ride-sharing apps, for example) will be under the spotlight.

The Competition Commission lays out its case

The report goes on to say that the Comp Comm has identified several corporate entities that are cause for concern. Among them are Takealot (and by extension Superbalist), Uber Eats and Mr Delivery, Airbnb, Google Play and the Apple App Store.

While all these entities operate in different spaces (food delivery, online shopping, app purchases and the like), the Commission’s complaint about all of them is the same: they all hold a very dominant position and, in some instances, are the only options for their consumers.

“Online markets have become an increasingly important channel for businesses to reach consumers, a trend which has accelerated under the Covid-19 pandemic and which is likely to continue,” the Commission said in a statement.

“Online markets provide consumers with the convenience of comparing a wide range of options and then safely purchasing online. For businesses, the online markets offer a ready-made infrastructure to sell online and a means to reach an enormous number of consumers nationally and internationally”

This shouldn’t come as too much of a shock for the parties involved.  The Comp Comm announced its intention for this probe when it first published the OIPMI back in February of this year.

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