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Personalized pricing and advertising: Who are the winners?

Rosa-Branca Esteves and Joana Resende

International Journal of Industrial Organization, 2019, vol. 63, issue C, 239-282

Abstract: This paper investigates who wins and who loses when firms depart from a mass advertising/uniform pricing strategy (benchmark model) to a targeted advertising/price discrimination one. Considering a duopoly market in which firms simultaneously compete in prices and advertising decisions, we examine the competitive and welfare effects of personalized pricing with targeted advertising by comparing equilibrium outcomes under customized advertising/ pricing decisions to the results arising under mass advertising and uniform pricing. We show that, when both firms compete in both market segments, all segment consumers are expected to pay higher average prices under the personalized advertising/pricing strategy. We also show that, in the context of our simultaneous game, targeted advertising with price discrimination might boost firms’ profits in comparison to the case of mass advertising and uniform prices. The overall welfare effects of the personalized strategy are ambiguous. However, even when the personalized strategy boosts overall welfare, consumers might all be worse-off. Thus the paper gives support to concerns that have been raised regarding the firms’ ability to adopt personalized strategies to boost profits at the expense of consumers.

Keywords: Competitive price discrimination; Customer recognition; Advertising strategies; Digital markets; Welfare; Competition policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D43 L13 M37 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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