Turkey: Main Competition Concerns In E-Commerce Sector: Highlights Of The EC's Final Report On The E-Commerce Sector Inquiry

Last Updated: 15 May 2017
Article by Ertuğrul Can Canbolat LL.M. and Hanna Stakheyeva PhD

Following a year of e-commerce sector inquiry, on 10 May 2017 the European Commission published its Final report on the e-commerce sector inquiry ("Report") outlining prevailing market trends and competition concerns linked to e-commerce, ultimately identifying priorities for enforcing the competition rules. Companies that are active in the e-commerce sector may wish to pay a due attention to, assess and possibly reconsider their current practices in order to minimize any competition law exposure. Below we provide typical trends and main competition concerns under the Report for your convenience.


E-commerce has had a significant impact on companies' distribution strategies and consumers' behaviors. The most typical trends are:

  • Increased price transparency leading to
  • Consumers finding best (price/product) options;
  • Free-riding behavior, since consumers may use presale services of 'offline' shops before purchasing the product online, or search and compare products online before purchasing in 'offline'/traditional shops; 
  • Increased price competition affecting both online and offline sales in terms of price, as well as quality, brand, and innovation; and
  • Increased price coordination due to the ability to monitor competitors' prices (with special software) and adjust own prices accordingly.
  • Easier access of retailers to customers by selling products through third party platforms.
  • Increased recourse to vertical restraints, such as pricing restrictions, marketplace (platform) bans, restrictions on the use of price comparison tools, and exclusion of pure online players from distribution networks.
  • The key determinant for competition in copyright-protected digital content markets is the availability of the relevant rights, which have to be acquired in order to lawfully market/transmit the content. Complex licensing practices with various contractual restrictions have developed.


  • Vertical restraints in selective distribution agreements. Requiring for at least part of manufacturer's products being sold via 'offline' shops has a potential of excluding pure online players from the distribution of the products. While such 'offline' requirement is normally covered by the vertical block exemption regulation (and may be justified by the qualitative and quantitative selective distribution), if there is no apparent link to distribution quality/other efficiencies, such clause may require further scrutiny on a case-by-case basis.
  • Retail price maintenance. Manufacturers should refrain from interfering with the retailers' freedom to set their final prices by imposing minimum retail prices or recommended retail prices and monitoring compliance with them. With the e-commerce, deviations from such price 'recommendations' are currently easier to monitor/detect by manufacturers (often by means of pricing software) and consequently to retaliate against such 'non-complying' retailers. This limits incentives for retailers to deviate from such price recommendations. This also leads to price collusion among retailers, which all together raise competition concerns.
  • Dual pricing. Charging different wholesale prices to different retailers is generally considered a normal part of the competitive process. At the same time charging different wholesale prices for the same product to the retailer depending on whether the products are sold online or offline may is generally considered as a hardcore restriction under the block exemption regulation. Hence, such dual pricing agreements shall be individually assessed, e.g. when such practice is indispensable to deal with the free-riding.
  • Marketplace restrictions/platform bans are mostly found in selective distribution agreements in relation to branded, complex or technical goods. They range from absolute bans to restrictions on selling on marketplaces that do not fulfil certain quality criteria. Marketplace bans do not generally amount to a de facto/hardcore prohibition. It may be justified by the product category in question. This is without prejudice to the pending preliminary ruling before the Court of Justice of the EU (Case-230/16 Coty Germany).
  • 'Geo-blocking' by way of blocking website access of customers abroad, re-routing customers to websites targeting other member states, refusing to deliver cross-border (most common measure in the EU) or to accept cross-border payments (second most common measure in the EU) may trigger competition concerns. Geo-blocking measures based on unilateral decision by non-dominant companies fall outside the scope of article 101 TFEU, while geo-blocking based on concerted practices between distinct companies may be caught under article 101 TFEU. Hence, contractual cross-border restrictions may raise competition concerns, if they (i) restrict the territory into which a distributor may sell goods (passive sales restrictions are more problematic; in selective distribution systems, neither active nor passive sales restrictions are legal); and/or (ii) limit retailers' ability to actively and passively sell to customers outside their member state.
  • Big data issues related to collection, processing and use of large amounts of data, and exchange of competitively sensitive data (on prices and sold quantities) between competing marketplaces and third party sellers/manufacturers with own shops and retailers are always problematic from competition law perspective.
  • Contractual restrictions in licensing agreements, such as territorial restrictions and geo-blocking, as well as duration of licensing agreements/automatic renewal, which makes it difficult for new players to enter the market constitute main competition concerns in relation to digital content/online provision of audio-visual and music products. 


With the development of online trade certain e-commerce related business practices that raise competition concerns have emerged. It is expected that European Commission will target the most widespread business practices outlined above in order to promote competition and cross-border trade. This may also influence approach of competition authorities in other jurisdictions in relation to their assessment of compatibility of e-commerce related business practices with competition rules. Companies that are active in the e-commerce may wish to pay a due attention to, assess and possibly reconsider their practices in order to minimize any competition law exposure. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions