Singapore competition regulator issues findings for market study on e-commerce platforms

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (“CCCS”) has issued its findings and recommendations for its market study on e-commerce platforms. The market study focused on gaining an in-depth understanding of e-commerce platforms that compete (or potentially compete) across multiple market segments offering distinct products and/or services.

The study also analysed potential competition and consumer issues which may arise from the proliferation of such e-commerce platforms.

Frontier Economics (Asia Pacific) was appointed to undertake a consultancy study for the CCCS. This study formed a key input for the CCCS’s findings and conclusions. Our work consisted of a consumer survey, focused interviews and an economic analysis of the emerging literature on digital platforms and its application to e-commerce activities.

While no specific competition problems were identified in the course of the market study, further analysis of theories of competitive harm relating to competition in multiple markets was undertaken. The CCCS consequently elected to update some of its key guidance documents, including competition guidelines relating to market definition, mergers and abuse of a dominant position.

With respect to consumer protections, our analysis highlighted that many e-commerce platforms had developed consumer trust, as this was a critical part of platform success. However, the Frontier Economics consumer survey did highlight concerns with unfair consumer practices in online markets, and the CCCS has proposed further information dissemination and commitments from key e-commerce platforms to better inform sellers on their platforms.

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