The orthodoxies of competition law and its remit, already under siege, have been further challenged by the health crisis. In particular, the traditional notion of consumer welfare was already being criticized as too price-focused, without taking proper account of other competition factors like innovation, quality, and long-term investment.
During the recovery, with even more reliance on “free” technology, plus new concerns around access to essential products and the impact on employment and other social goods, competition policy is tasked with more urgently addressing its perceived deficiencies in the face of attempts to take advantage of the crisis.
When businesses think about the competition rules, they will need to think more broadly, in a way that we haven’t seen before. Price may need to make more room for innovation, sustainability, the environment, employment, privacy and social and economic inequality which have become the focus of political agendas.
“The pandemic has catapulted the digital revolution into warp speed. Emerging from the crisis, there is new urgency and focus to address the market power of global tech platforms. The outcomes of this battle will have important ramifications for many other sectors.”
“Navigating in a Covid era, consumer interests through a political lens and new competition policy and enforcement priorities will require companies to stay on top of fast-moving developments. They will need to be agile, politically savvy and engaged in their communities.”
UK Head of Competition, London