The growth of e-commerce is profoundly changing distribution. The physical distribution model is facing strong competition from the growth of online sales, which may be the result of “pure play” online retailers and strategies using alternative distribution channels. Sales conditions in physical stores are also evolving, increasingly incorporating digital technologies (use of smartphones, tablets, augmented technologies, etc.), to the point that there is now a “phygital” (physical and digital) model. Finally, these developments raise many questions for the Autorité de la concurrence, sometimes leading it to redefine market boundaries, focus on restrictions on Internet sales, and increase the new power held by online platforms, especially structuring platforms that hold strategic or preeminent positions.
In view of the prominent place that the distribution sector occupies in the French economy, the Autorité has sought to provide an overview of these various issues and explain its vision so businesses have a clear understanding of them.