1 min

European Union: first critics to DSA

German company Zalando considers it is not a “very large online platform” as defined by European regulations

Digital transition - July 10, 2023

Zalando, the major German online clothes and shoes retailer, took legal action on June 27, 2023, to challenge its designation as a “very large platform” under the Digital Services Act (DSA). The European regulation, passed in 2022, means to regulate content published on social media and goods sold on commercial websites.

In particular, it sets many requirements for “very large platforms” with over 45 million active monthly users in the European Union (or 10% of the European population). In e-commerce, only marketplaces can be considered “very large platforms”. The DSA will come into effect for these major players on August 23, 2023. The rest of the text will be implemented on February 17, 2024.

On April 25, 2023, the European Commission published an initial list of 19 “very large platforms”. Besides Zalando, it includes seven marketplaces: Amazon, the App Store, Google Shopping and Play Store, the Chinese group AliExpress and the Dutch company Booking.com.

Zalando claims 83 million visitors a month, which explains why it is included in this category. However, the German company stated that, out of this total, only 31 million customers make purchases in the marketplace, while the others order only “Zalando” branded products. Yet the DSA does not cover this kind of direct sale.

Zalando Retail’s customers should not have been taken into account in the Commission’s ‘very large platform’ designation,” summarizes Robert Gentz, founder and head of the group. He therefore challenges this designation and the requirements it entails, while assuring he “support[s] the goals of the Digital Services Act.”

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