Contemporary Competition: Process or Result?

 
PIIS013122270016908-9-1
DOI10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-8-5-13
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE)
Address: Moscow, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow. 101000, Russian Federation
Journal nameMirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia
EditionVolume 65 Issue 8
Pages5-13
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.

Keywordscompetition, digitalization, competitive behaviour
Publication date24.09.2021
Number of characters27075
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1 Цифровая реальность привела к значительным изменениям в организации бизнеса, в экономическом поведении участников рынка, в структуре межфирменных взаимодействий. Одни бизнес-модели и бизнес-практики отмирают или меняют свою важность, на смену им приходят новые формы активности, многие из которых только-только получают наименования. Цифровизация меняет наше представление о границах рынка, о релевантных субъектах1 и объектах рыночного воздействия, о характеристиках товара и о самой природе конкуренции. Российские и зарубежные исследователи активно наблюдают за экономическими метаморфозами цифровой эпохи, проводят эмпирический и теоретический анализ выявляемых закономерностей. В этой области в научной литературе накопился существенный объем работ по отдельным отраслям и ключевым компаниям экономики, который нуждается в обобщении и теоретическом осмыслении. 1. Участники рынка – компании, индивиды, государство; в цифровом мире не всегда ясно, какая компания или данный индивид уже стали участниками цифрового рынка или еще нет.
2

НОВЫЕ ФОРМЫ КОНКУРЕНЦИИ

3 Что такое современная конкуренция: процесс созидательного разрушения (в духе Й. Шумпетера) или недобросовестная практика подавления соперников по рынку? Переход конкуренции в онлайн-формат сопровождается разнонаправленными последствиями. С одной стороны, соперничество фирм усиливается. Этому способствуют низкие издержки поиска товара и сопоставления цен на одни и те же товары от разных компаний, отсутствие географической дифференциации в условиях глобального электронного рынка, низкие барьеры входа для новых участников в связи с минимальными затратами на организацию е-бизнеса.
4 Вместе с тем Интернет может смягчать конкурентное давление путем изобретения новых форм продуктовой дифференциации. В онлайн-формате более значимой оказывается роль репутации фирмы, что требует дополнительных затрат на ее поддержание. Кроме того, в сети легче проводить маскировочные стратегии, то есть показывать фантомные товары и фантомные планы, “напускать туману” на все действия фирмы, что резко увеличивает издержки поиска для клиентов. Какой же эффект – “за” или “против” конкуренции – здесь доминирует?
5 Эмпирическое исследование е-бизнеса в сфере продажи продуктов питания и книг в Германии показало, что онлайн-продавцы ежегодно захватывают не менее 0.7% рыночной доли офлайн-фирм [1, р. 94], а рыночные цены и прибыли под действием виртуального соперничества падают. Вывод: онлайн-конкуренция становится в целом более жесткой, несмотря на наличие противодействующих факторов.
6 В цифровом мире важную роль играет процесс онлайн-поиска товара, и фирмы разрабатывают особые механизмы категоризации своей продукции. Поиск затрудняется и становится более сложным из-за того, что компании выбирают продуктовые категории, к которым считают целесообразным отнести свои изделия, на основе тщательно продуманной стратегии. Большинство поисковых запросов в интернете делается по ключевым словам. Ключевые слова (хэштеги), которыми фирмы определяют свои товары в электронном пространстве, выступают в качестве инструментов таргетирования.

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