16 February 2022, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has published its market analysis on the origins and role of online retailers' data assets. Based on the analysis, the Authority has made a number of proposals in order to boost consumer confidence and develop domestic SMEs, undertaking – among others – to prepare an informative document in cooperation with the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.

       The online retail sector has seen a strong boom in recent years, and the Authority is keeping a close eye on this market segment. The recently concluded market analysis of the GVH aimed to understand the data assets of online retailers – in particular, how they are created, what role they play in competition between online retailers and how aware consumers are of them. For the first time, the Authority’s market analysis included both consumer protection and competition policy aspects.

    The analysis covered the online retailing of technical goods, clothing, food and consumer goods, and mapped consumer knowledge and expectations as well as the relationship between retailers.

The study revealed that the majority of Hungarian online stores do not currently make use of the potential of data assets, so its absence does not in itself constitute a significant barrier to entry or expansion. On the consumer side, the analysis found that although the Hungarian population is motivated to consciously manage their data, this is often overridden by time constraints and the need to buy as quickly as possible. The results show that consumers know little about the data collection and management practices of online shops, and a significant proportion of them are explicitly afraid that the data they provide when shopping online will be misused.

The GVH has made a number of consumer and competition policy recommendations based on the experience of the market analysis. As part of the proposals, among others, the GVH will reach out to the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information to jointly develop a guidance document on the requirements for modern, clear and transparent consumer information on data management to support online retailers. The Authority has also proposed the development and support of public and corporate programmes to improve the digital and data analytics competences of domestic SMEs, demonstrating the tools, methods and opportunities needed to succeed in the virtual space. In addition, the Authority recommends that companies with significant market power providing marketing and data services related to the operation of online shops should take active preventive steps to comply with the legislation, in particular to avoid any possible abuse of their dominant position.

The GVH’s report and detailed proposals are available in Hungarian. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at the press@gvh.hu e-mail address.

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