The report confirms the rapid growth of the consumer IoT markets but identifies potential concerns.
The consumer Internet of Things includes consumer products and services that are connected to a network and can be controlled at a distance, for example via a voice assistant or mobile device. The European Commission believed that there were indications of company behaviour that may structurally distort competition in and for this sector. Therefore, the Commission carried out a competition sector inquiry to better understand the nature, prevalence and effects of these potential competition issues, and to assess them in light of EU antitrust rules.
On 9 June 2021 the Commission set out its initial findings pending public consultation. Following the consultation, it has now adopted its final report.
The findings of the sector inquiry confirm the rapid growth of the consumer IoT markets, but also identify potential concerns put forward by the respondents to the sector inquiry as well as in the submissions to the public consultation.
The final results of the sector inquiry highlight the following potential concerns:
The results of the sector inquiry will also inform the Commission’s further work in implementing its digital strategy. The findings of the sector inquiry are also feeding into the ongoing legislative debate on the scope of the Digital Markets Act. Moreover, the Commission says that sector inquiries like this one may prompt companies to review their commercial practices. In this context, the Commission notes Amazon's recent revision of some of the business-to-business conditions for its automatic and smart product reordering services.