Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 389: E-commerce and prices - theory and evidence

Richard Friberg (), Mattias Ganslandt () and Mikael Sandström ()
Additional contact information
Richard Friberg: Dept. of Economic Statistics, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, S-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Mattias Ganslandt: IUI, Postal: Industrihuset
Mikael Sandström: Swedish research institute of trade (HUI), Postal: HUI, SE-103 29 Stockholm

Abstract: This paper examines the relation between prices in conventional stores and on the Internet. Main results from the theoretical analysis are i) we expect a discrete fall in prices in conventional stores as the share of the population with access to Internet reaches a critical level, ii) the relation between prices depends on convenience costs of shopping in regular stores as well as on transport and navigation costs for goods bought over Internet, iii) retailers who only sell through Internet have lower on-line prices than retailers who also sell through conventional stores. The empirical section employs a rich data set covering the Swedish markets for books and CDs. Prices of these goods are on average 15 percent lower on Internet, but if a single item is bought transport costs will make it as expensive to buy over Internet as in a regular store (if a basket of goods is bought it is some 10 percent cheaper on Internet since transport costs are fixed). There is firm support for that retailers who only sell over Internet have lower on-line prices.

Keywords: retail pricing; consumer behavior; e-commerce; price discrimination; Internet

JEL-codes: D12; D43; L11; L81

35 pages, First version: June 18, 2000. Revised: September 8, 2000.

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