On 15 September 2016 , the Commission published a preliminary report on its e-commerce sector inquiry. 

It confirmed the rapid growth of e-commerce in the EU and identified business practices that have the potential to restrict competition and limit consumer choice.

The inquiry commenced in May 2015 in the context of the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy with the objective of identifying possible competition concerns in European e-commerce markets.  The evaluation of evidence from a large sample of companies in the e-commerce sector and analysis of distribution contracts has identified a number of business practices that may limit online competition.  If this is the case, there would be a breach of EU antitrust rules.  To ensure compliance, the Commission may open case specific investigations.

The Preliminary Report is now open to public consultation until 15 November for stakeholders commentary and the Final Report is expected to be published in the first quarter of 2017.

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