Contemporary Competition: Process or Result?

128
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-8-5-13
N. Rozanova (nrozanova@hse.ru),
National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Received 18.11.2020.

Abstract. Digital economy has significantly changed business reality. The radical transformations are ubiquitous. New patterns feature economic behaviour of market participants, their interactions, their business models and their market activities. What about competition? What forms of competitive conduct have lost importance in contemporary digital economy? And what are the newest strategies that enhance competitiveness of the firms? Which digital business practices could limit competition? And which of them could stimulate business rivalry? Digitalization has changed many, in not all, of our traditional conceptual visions in the area of competition, market, market power, relevant market actors. The nature of competition itself is under scrupulous investigation. What conclusions could we draw from current theoretical and empirical analyses of competition mechanism? First of all, we deal with new forms of competition. The old Schumpeterian question – whether competition is a creative innovative destruction or it leads only to unfair elimination of competitors from the market – has arisen again nowadays. Online competition has two radically different outcomes. On the one hand, lower transaction costs, more possibilities to compare prices and assortment, expanding markets beyond geographical limits, low entry barriers reinforce rivalry. On the other hand, online activity of the firms can mitigate competitive pressure though new forms of product differentiation and usage of phantom strategies, phantom products, phantom plans. In order to increase their overall competitiveness, firms have elaborated an O2O (online-to-offline) business model that is allowed to utilize virtual and actual activity at the same time. Restaurant business, cosmetic industry, taxi deals are examples of its successful implementation. Is more competition better for consumers? This concept has been considered doubtful. Digital competitive pressure has led to a novel format of product differentiation, that is, targeted product design. Unlike traditional view in line with Salop circular model, contemporary firms choose product strategies that target as little individuals as possible. The less the circle of potential clients is, the less their price elasticity would be, and the weaker price rivalry might become. Traditional concept views competition as a Markov stochastic process. Contemporary analyses demonstrate more complicated nature of competitive mechanism. Online and offline innovations transform competition into non-linear process with “humps and jumps”, the outcomes of which are not always in the interests of consumers’ welfare.

Keywords: competition, digitalization, competitive behaviour


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For citation:
Rozanova N. Contemporary Competition: Process or Result?. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 8, pp. 5-13. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-8-5-13



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