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 Rethinking HS2

Rethinking HS2

On 4 October 2023, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed that Phase 2 of High Speed Two (HS2) would not go ahead.1 Was this the right call? How do we make the most of where we are now? To answer these questions, we need to understand why HS2 was… Read More

6 minute read
Depiction of Does paying passive managers to engage improve ESG performance?

Does paying passive managers to engage improve ESG performance?

‘Does paying passive managers to engage improve ESG performance?’ is a paper by Professors Marco Becht, Julian Franks, Hideaki Miyajima and Kazunori Suzuki. The paper is the recipient of a prestigious PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) 2023 award. Marco, Julian and Kazunori visited Oxera on 14 September 2023 to present… Read More

Back to top