Depiction of Which? report—consumer data in online markets

Which? report—consumer data in online markets

Businesses increasingly use consumer data to offer better and more targeted digital products and services. Many of these new business models rely on data to facilitate transactions and generate revenues in a way that was not previously possible, through either targeted advertising or better matching.

Such access to personal data has understandably raised concerns about privacy, and (in the worst cases) the selling and illegal use of data. In certain circumstances, competition in the market can mitigate concerns about privacy, but this depends, crucially, on whether consumers are able to understand the privacy implications of using a particular service and can exercise choice.

The extent to which different firms are able to access similar data is important for competition, and it depends on two key factors—the cost of acquiring data, and the rate at which a piece of data depreciates.

Messaging apps are an example of where competition can bring about good outcomes. The nature of the data has led to consumers exercising choice between messaging apps, and service providers competing on privacy-related features. By contrast, with health and fitness apps, behavioural biases (if combined with a lack of engagement with terms and conditions) can lead to privacy concerns, even when there appears to be competition in the market.


David Jevons




8 minute read
Depiction of Undertaking capital projects: linking risk and return

Undertaking capital projects: linking risk and return

Whether they relate to the energy transition, the renewal of transport infrastructure, or reversing damage to the environment, our society will increasingly need to undertake large capital projects. It will be important to identify the projects’ risks and determine who is responsible for managing these and reducing their likelihood. Read More

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Depiction of Market differentiation in consumer goods: one size fits all?

Market differentiation in consumer goods: one size fits all?

Consumer goods have seen significant price rises lately, driving up general inflation levels. Some retailers point to territorial supply restrictions limiting their ability to secure lower wholesale prices—they consider these to be anti-competitive. This article considers two specific economic aspects of this discussion: first, it reflects on the effect… Read More

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