WSJ: EU to Formally Charge Amazon Over 3P Sellers

WSJ: EU to Formally Charge Amazon Over 3P Sellers

(JUNE 11, 2020) The EU investigation into how Amazon uses third-party (3P) seller data could move to another level, says the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

According to the WSJ, the European Commission could file formal antitrust charges against the e-commerce giant as early as next week. The Commission first started looking at Amazon’s use of 3P data in September 2018, launching a formal investigation the following July. At the time, it said: “Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace.”

Specifically, the EU has been looking at to what extent Amazon uses 3P data to drive its own private label strategy and to ‘win the buy box’ on its websites.

According to recent research by Coresight and DataWeave, over the past two years, Amazon has tripled the number of private label items it sells to almost 23,000 across more than 110 brands. At the same time, 3P sales on the Amazon Marketplace have continued to soar and are more profitable than the e-tailer’s own first-party sales.

If the EU does take things further, that might suggest a ‘no smoke without fire’ scenario, so it will be interesting to see what the specific charges – if any – are against Amazon and what that could mean for its business model down the line. - (OPI)