Buyer power in EU competition law : a boon or impediment to consumer welfare ?

by Chloé Binet

Institution: Université Catholique de Louvain
Department: Droit international et européen
Year: 2015
Keywords: Buyer power; Anticompetitive practices; Consumer welfare; Economic dependency; Grocery retail sector
Record ID: 1077332
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2078.1/156352


Buyer power is a controversial issue in EU competition law. It is an undeniable fact that the exercise of buyer power may bring benefits to consumers through lower prices. However, some buyer practices are likely to restrict or distort competition and thereby harm consumers, especially in the grocery retail sector where large supermarket chains have significant buyer power. Despite these potential harmful effects, it turns out that the current EU competition rules as well as the different initiatives taken by some Member States are unsuitable to address the issue of buyer power. Because buyers' market power differs from sellers' market power, common and specific criteria should be defined to deal with buyer practices so as to protect effective competition in the European Union. (DROI - Sciences juridiques)  – UCL, 2015