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Policy Contribution

E-commerce in Europe: parcel delivery prices in a digital single market

The expansion of e-commerce, a substantial growth opportunity for Europe, is hampered by high cross-border parcel delivery prices. This paper analyses the economics of cross-border parcel delivery and it draws a comparison with the telecommunications sector.

By: and Date: May 25, 2016 Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy

Highlights

In its Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission has rightly noted the importance of reducing the price paid for basic cross-border parcel delivery by consumers and by small and medium size retail senders.

The payment flows for cross-border parcel delivery are strikingly similar to those for telecommunications. Comparisons with roaming can be instructive. As with roaming, it is clear that the links between wholesale payments between the national postal operators and retail prices need to be properly understood in order to craft good policy. Another useful lesson is that national postal regulatory authorities are unlikely to address cross-border problems because of limitations in their respective mandates and because they have no incentive to take measures to benefit residents of other countries.

There are also significant differences between roaming and parcel delivery. While high wholesale charges were a major driver of high retail prices for international mobile roaming, the wholesale payments for cross-border parcel delivery appear to be below cost. This implies that it is the ‘spread’ between retail price and the wholesale payment that is inflated, at least for small retail senders and for consumers.

Comprehensive statistics gathering, coordinated at European level, is indispensable.

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Podcast

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By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 12, 2019
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External Publication

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Numerous legislative measures have been initiated or enacted in support of the overall achievement of a Digital Single Market (DSM). This in-depth analysis provides a brief stock-taking of what has been achieved in economic terms, of what remains to be done, and of candidate initiatives for the next legislative term.

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External Publication

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This article wishes to provide guidance on how the new vertical restraints linked to e-commerce should be treated and recommendations over the priorities and challenges that need to be addressed.  

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Parliamentary Testimony

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Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

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Working Paper

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The rise of influential Chinese digital giants, including Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi has shown the world that China is a global leader in digital innovation and it is not surprising that China has started to influence the global digital market. But is China exploiting its full potential in this area? To answer this question, the authors assess how big China’s digital economy is relative to the rest of its economy, and how China performs compared to the rest of the world.

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The development of e-commerce has affected both demand and supply fundamentals of markets, changing the way competition works. In the effort to develop a frictionless and welfare maximizing digital single market across the EU, it is necessary to carefully review the disruptive forces on e-commerce on markets and firms’ strategies.

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Opinion

Germany’s export-oriented economic model is caught in a US-Chinese squeeze

The new Merkel government has to reduce the dependencies on exports by stimulating domestic growth forces in Germany and Europe. At the same time, Berlin should push for a more ambitious national and European innovation policy as well as a robust European foreign trade policy.

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Challenges and opportunities for the EU digital single market

At this event, we looked into the progress made towards achieving the main priorities for strengthening the digital single market, the opportunities and the challenges at EU level.

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