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Consumer Goods

19 August 2009
by inadim -- last modified 19 August 2009

Individuals are directly affected if competition is weak in the area of consumer goods. The European Commission therefore aims to safeguard competition for the benefit of the consumer.


Consumer goods are goods that are acquired for final consumption by households or individual consumers.

The sector encompasses a wide variety of products including food, soft drinks, alcohol, tobacco, textiles, clothing, footwear, leather products, wood/rubber/glass/ceramic/plastic and metal products, detergents, cleaning and polishing preparations, cosmetics and perfumes, electrical equipment, domestic appliances, watches and clocks, jewellery, furniture, medical equipment, precision and optical equipment, musical instruments, sports goods, toys, cutlery, tools and general hardware.

The Commission’s competition department has investigated a varied range of cases involving various products in this sector, both under Article 81 EC (restrictive business practices) and Article 82 EC (abuse of dominant position).

In the textiles sector, the Commission’s competition department has investigated several cartels concerning haberdashery products, both hard and soft haberdashery. Three prohibition decisions have been adopted, one in 2004 concerning needles (hard haberdashery), one in 2005 concerning industrial thread (soft haberdashery) and one in 2007 concerning fasteners (hard haberdashery).

Recently, the Commission’s competition department has also investigated an Article 82 EC case involving Reverse Vending Machines . In the 2006 Decision the dominant market player, Tomra, was found to have abused its dominance in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

The Commission has also investigated alleged abuses of dominance by Coca Cola in the market for carbonated soft-drinks. In June 2005 in accordance with Article 9(1) of Regulation 1/2003 the Commission rendered the commitments offered by Coca Cola legally binding.

Source: European Commission