UK supermarket sector is an oligopoly

An oligopoly is a type of a market, in which any peculiar industry is dominated by non many Sellerss which are besides known as oligopolists. Now since there is little figure of companies is involved in a peculiar industry, this makes them really much witting of the other participants of the same industry. Rather, to be more precise any appraisal of house one influence and are influenced by, the determination of other houses. Lot of concern examination techniques are used in tactical planning such as SWOT, PEST, STEER and EPISTEL analysis needs to take into study the likely responses of the other participants.

Oligopoly is a general signifier of market. The four-firm is used to explicate frailty nary of oligopoly, in which the most general ratio is CR4, which means the four major houses in a peculiar industry and besides measures the portion of the four major organisations in an industry as a proportion. Now allow me utilize an illustration to do the above point clear. Here we will take the US cellular phone market. The companies like AT & A ; T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile jointly controlled over 90 % of the market.

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Despite of the common market portion and oligopolistic competition can give rise to a broad scope of consequences. In a fortunes where a house may develop a pattern which could be a trade preventative, such as collusion, market sharing etc. to raise at that place merchandise monetary value while restrict the production which is similar to the monopoly, this could be short term every bit good as long term. Let us see and understand monopoly in equilibrium.

The illustration of monopoly is considered to be the same in short tally and long tally.

Now the gross maximization occurs where MR=MC. And hence equilibrium is at P and Q.

Aspects of this diagram are that there are barriers to entry in Monopoly. Companies are monetary value shaper. Net incomes are maximized at end product where MR=MC. This means they set a monetary value greater than MC which is inefficient. In this diagram the companies makes supranormal net incomes because AR is greater than AC.

In order to acquire this in consequence, an official understanding takes topographic point which is besides known as trust. The best illustration of trust is OPEC which has a deep influence on world-wide monetary value of oil. These sorts of participant are Price Setter and non the Price Taker.

Through the procedure of collusion, oligologics can cut down the hazards in markets for investing and merchandise development and is an effort to calm the imbalanced market. In most states this is lawfully restricted. In other state of affairss, competition can be fiercer between Sellerss in an oligopoly, with comparatively low monetary values and high production. This could take to adept consequences. The consequences can be better when there are more companies in an industry.

The major features of oligopoly are to maximise the net income by bring forthing, where in the generated fringy gross peers to the fringy costs. Position to put the monetary value, which we have antecedently discussed above that oligopolies are monetary value compositors instead than monetary value takers. Barriers for new houses to come in are higher. We can divide these barriers in two groups, one of which is natural and the other is strategic entry barriers. These barriers are based on economical graduated table, patents, manner in to expensive and hard engineering and above all the tactical actions by present houses designed to set off or rupture down emerging houses. Since, there are few companies which consequences the actions of one house can burden the actions of the other houses. Predominate factor is high barriers of the entry which prevents emerging companies from come ining market, which in consequence can retain long tally untypical net incomes. The most typical characteristic of an oligopoly is mutuality. Since oligopolies consists of few big houses and, each house is so big that any of its action can impact the market status. And due to this ground, the competing houses are good witting of the market actions and are set ready to react consequently and right. In order to see a market action, a house must take into the deliberation the possible reactions of all rival houses and there moves. A game of cheat is a best illustration to simplify the above statements. Wherein both the oppositions are really good witting of each others action and are ready for the counter moves, this is duopoly. But this could explicate the oligopoly since the participants in the market are few in Numberss.


There is no theoretical account to explicate the procedure of an oligopolistic market. In some markets there is a lone house which wheels a prima portion of the market and a group of smaller houses. The dominant steadfast sets monetary values which are merely taken by the smaller houses in determining their net income maximising degree of production. This type of market is known as a monopoly.

Cournot-Nash theoretical account

The Cournot-Nash theoretical account is the simplest oligopoly theoretical account. In this theoretical account there are two similarly positioned houses, the houses competes on the footing of the capacity instead than monetary value and each house makes and production determination presuming that the other house ‘s actions is fixed. Now the crook of the demand in the market is based on premises to be additive and fringy cost are changeless. To happen the Cournot-Nash equation, one needs to find how each house reacts to a alteration in the end product of the other house which is followed by sequence of proceedings and reactions. This lineation continues until a point is reached where neither house desires to alter what it is making, given how it believes the other house will respond to any alteration. The balance is the intersection of the two house ‘s reaction maps. The reaction intent shows how one house reacts to the mass pick of the other house. For an illustration, presuming that the Firm A demand map P = ( 60 – Q2 ) – Q1 where Q2 is the measure produced by the other house and Q1 is the amount produced by house A. Assume that the fringy cost is 12 Firm A wants to cognize its maximising measure and monetary value. Firm A begins the procedure by following maximization regulation of comparing fringy gross to fringy costs. Tauten A ‘s entire gross intent is PQ = Q1 ( 60 – Q2 – Q1 ) = 60Q1- Q1Q2 – Q12. The fringy intent is MR = 60 – Q2 – 2Q.


60 – Q2 – 2Q = 12

2Q = 48 – Q2

Q1 = 24 – 0.5Q2 ( 1.1 )

Q2 = 24 – 0.5Q1 ( 1.2 )

Equation 1.1 is the reaction map for house A. Equation 1.2 is the reaction map for house B. The balance measures can besides be determined diagrammatically, in which the balance account would be at the intersection of the two reaction maps.

In mechanised economic sciences, barriers to entry have resulted in oligopolies organizing in many sectors, with new degrees of battle fueled by lifting globalisation. These are typically determined by development of a merchandise and advertisement. For illustration, there is merely undersized figure of manufacturers of civil rider aircraft. Oligopolies have besides arisen in a batch regulated markets such as radio communications, in several countries merely two or three suppliers are licensed to run.

In United Kingdom, there are five Bankss that control the UK banking sector, and were besides accused of being an oligopoly by the newcomer Virgin bank. The detergent market is dominated by merely two participants and they are Unilever and Procter & A ; Gamble.

Traveling to the food market market, It is said that the UK supermarket sector is an oligopoly, we find four companies who portions 74.4 % to 75.01 % of the food market market which are Tesco, Sainsbury ‘s, Asda and Morrisons.

The chief ground in an oligopoly is due to few major rivals in the market. We see this in the UK supermarket industry. And these participants are Tesco, Sainsbury ‘s and Asda. Though there are many little participants who exist in the market. All the merchandises are similar at supermarkets. Most nutrient providers are Kellogg ‘s, Bird ‘s oculus and Heinz at all the supermarkets. The lone manner supermarket differs is bring forthing its ain generic merchandise. It should be noted here that all these generic merchandises are made in the same mill ; the lone difference is that they are labeled as per the shops. Decision is that all the merchandises available at the shops are same. This is one of the characteristics of an oligopoly.

Another theory or the tactical in pricing in an oligopoly can be through the coaction to bear down the same monetary value, which is more similar to Monopoly. Though it will non easy to see in title in the UK Supermarket industry due to the similar supply to each supermarket, this means that the cost of the merchandise is about same at all the supermarkets. We will happen somewhat lower monetary value in big supermarket as compared to the smaller one, this is because they lower overhead cost. Firms competes on monetary value, which is another characteristic of an oligopolistic market, this helps them to go a monetary value shaper and could ensue in pulling good sum of market portions. Further, this consequences into the “ monetary value wars ” , where house A cuts monetary value in it ‘s merchandise, which is so followed by others. Although, the fringy net income is covered through the other goods in the shops. For case, Tesco announced a scope of monetary value cuts between 3 % to 25 % price reduction. This helped Tesco to capture 12 % of the market portion merely in eight hebdomads, although subsequently this was followed by other ace markets and the addition was modified. The mean consumer had saved ?150 a twelvemonth after this monetary value war. These characteristics of repairing monetary value yet viing on monetary value can be explained through kinked demand crook theory. Theory says, that if one house increases it ‘s monetary value than this would consequence and diminution in the entire gross, due to this ground other houses will non follow the same scheme. But if any steadfast implement the same than others will be forced to implement the same, which will once more take to the monetary value wars and of class shortage in the gross. But if all houses colludes which means that houses will be in the place to put the monetary value of there desire and can gain supranormal net incomes in long class. Apart from viing in the monetary value, each supermarket has its ain motto ( publicizing ) to make a sense of trueness and retain from its bing client every bit good as to pull new client. Tesco spent ?27.4m on advertisement which was followed by Sainsbuty ‘s ?25.1m and Asda ?17.8m which created trade name consciousness in the people. Many supermarkets introduced their ain trueness card to honor and retain their client, sends out mailings and verifiers to loyalty card holders which encourages the client to go on utilizing at that place loyalty card, though the per centum of such client is negligible. Now yearss, cyberspace shopping and topographic point bringing has become more of import, as people are now connected to internet. Supermarkets can now advance their cyberspace based services to promote client to utilize them which will assist houses to capture the market portion. Above all some supermarkets such as Asda started offering aid with shopping which includes transporting it to the clients ‘ auto and assist them with packing while check-out procedure. These non-price schemes will doubtless increase merchandise distinction and addition in trade name trueness and doing demand curve less elastic, so in future it will go easier to raise monetary values for these houses if they wish.

Demand Curve

In oligopoly, any company operates under flawed competition. With the barbarous monetary value fight created by demand crook, houses use non-price competition in order to hike gross and market portion. “ Kinked ” insist curves are similar to usual insist curves. They are different by a hypothesized bowed crook with a discontinuity at the bend- ” Kink ” . Hence, the first imitative at that point is non clear and leads to a hop discontinuity in the fringy gross curve.

The inspiration following this crick is the idea that if houses will non promote their monetary values because even a little monetary value rise will drop many client in oligopolistic or monopolistically competitory market. The ground behind this is that, the rivals will by and large pay no attending to the addition in monetary values and will concentrate on deriving a larger market portion. However, even a big monetary value decrease will derive merely a few clients because such an action will get down a monetary value war with other participants in the market. And for this ground, the curve is hence more price-elastic for monetary value attention deficit disorder to and less so for monetary value lessenings. In long tally companies will often come in the industry.



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