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Digital Comparison Tools: help or hindrance? The CMA to investigate

The CMA has launched a market study into digital comparison tools to see how they are working for consumers, business and the economy.

Overview of the study
The Competition and Markets Authority has announced a market study into digital comparison tools such as price comparison websites and apps, which enable consumers to compare products and services on quality as well as price, and help them switch between suppliers. It has published a statement of scope and asked for initial comments from interested parties by 24 October. This is an opportunity to provide input into the initial stages of the study and potentially to raise additional issues not covered in the CMA’s initial scoping paper.

What the study will cover

  •        What consumers expect from DCTs, how they use them and
           their experiences;
  •        The impact of DCTs on competition between suppliers listed
           on them;
  •        How effectively DCTs compete with each other;
  •        The current regulatory environment and how it affects competition
           and consumer protection.

The study will focus on the role of digital comparison tools in specific sectors: broadband, flights, home insurance, personal current accounts, credit cards, private motor insurance, payday lending, extended warranties, legal services and flights. However, the CMA’s aim is to draw out common themes and where possible draw conclusions across a broader range of sectors.

The CMA will also build on contributions from other regulators, including recent work from the UK Regulators Network and the Financial Conduct Authority’s market study on credit cards.

Commenting on the study, Matthew Johnson, Partner at Oxera, stated:

"the CMA’s decision to open a market study in this area, rather than launch competition or consumer enforcement action, makes sense due to the complex economic analysis required to understand the issues involved and to strike the right balance between them"

Experience in dealing with Market Studies
Oxera is a leading authority on competition economics with extensive experience in all areas of market investigations. We have advised clients on almost all of the CMA’s previous market studies. We provide strategic advice through the course of the inquiry, building key working relationships with lawyers, clients and authorities. We have also worked with a number of providers of digital comparison tools, including price comparison website, and online markets across various sectors on aspects of their business that benefit from our insight. Our expertise has enabled us to provide compelling economics to help them achieve optimal outcomes.
For further information on how Oxera could support your business through this market study, please view our previous work in this sector including CMA case studies and how we support competition market investigations.

For further information on this DCT market study please contact
Daniel Wozniak, [email protected] +44 (0)1865 253000

View Oxera Marketing Investigations Case Studies

Read Oxera's Global Competition Review (GCR) statement

Read more from the official CMA Study – DCT – Official Link