Institute for Prospective Technological Studies Digital Economy Working Paper 2016/04
A cross-border e-commerce Mystery Shopping Survey conducted in 2015, finds that the practice of erecting virtual barriers is still common in cross-border e-commerce within the EU, as it was in 2009. Electrical appliances, electronics and computer games are particularly difficult to buy online from another country. Geo-blocking often takes place at the delivery stage of the online purchase process and less often at the access stage. Larger websites can also block access according to a buyer’s IP address. Geo-blocking is less probably between countries sharing a common language while a common border or geographical proximity has no effect. Travel services have a different pattern of geo-blocking from tangible goods, where geo-blocking mainly takes place at the access stage. Price analysis shows that differentiation takes place in all sectors, but is more common in the sectors less affected by geo-blocking.
geo-blocking mystery shopping cross-border e-commerce digital single market