Examples of monopolistic and oligopolistic competition are everywhere you turn. In fact, it may be downright difficult to find a product or service that isn’t influenced by either oligopolistic or monopolistic competition. But knowing the difference between monopolistic and oligopolistic businesses is crucial. This is why we’ve separated the monopolistic competition examples from the oligopolistic competition examples. Note that most people use the terms interchangably since the term ‘oligopolistic’ is not well understood. But there’s a significant difference which we explain before giving examples of each…

In This Article:

  • What is Monopolistic Competition?

  • Examples of Monopolistic Competition

  • What is Oligopolistic Competition?

  • Examples of Oligopolistic Competition

What is Monopolistic Competition?

Monopolistic competition is a model of market structure in which competitors provide products or services that are similar but can be differentiated from each other. In this model, each company has a product or products that are similar to their competition but are not perfect substitutes. It’s the small differences between companies that allow them to compete for a similar customer base. They may differentiate themselves through product differences, branding differences, marketing differences, and/or distribution differences.

In monopolistic competition, no one business has complete control over market prices; however, all producers have some control over the price. Entry and exit barriers in the market are generally low for monopolistic competition. Therefore, there is freedom for companies to enter and exit the market with relative ease.

Examples of monopolistic competition are seemingly endless, as any two companies offering similar products or services and competing for the same customer in the same market are said to be engaged in monopolistic competition. For example, if you need a haircut, there are likely several salons in your area that could satisfy this need. Each business’ goal is to entice you (the customer) to use their business instead of their competitor’s business.

Examples of Monopolistic Competition

Just a few examples of monopolistic competition include:

  • Dry cleaners
  • Bars/nightclubs
  • Coffee shops
  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Gas stations
  • Hotels
  • Hardware/home improvement stores
  • Furniture stores
  • Landscaping/lawn care services
  • Car washes
  • Automotive service companies

What is Oligopolistic Competition?

Another market structure model is oligopolistic competition. However, what makes this market structure decidedly different from monopolistic competition is that entry and exit barriers are usually very high.

Because of this, few companies exist in this market structure, and those that do dominate it. Oligopolies are created a number of ways, although noncompetitive practices, government mandates, or advanced technology are usually precursors.

While restaurants, retail stores, and hotels are good examples of monopolistic competition, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and technology companies are prime examples of oligopolistic competition.

Examples of Oligopolistic Competition

Smartphones

  • Apple
  • HTC
  • LG
  • Motorola
  • Nokia
  • Samsung

Video Streaming Services

  • Amazon
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO Now
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Showtime
  • Starz

Airlines

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Allegiant Air
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin America

Health Insurance Companies

  • AARP
  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • Coventry
  • Highmark
  • Humana
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • State Farm

In Summary

Now you have both monopolistic examples and oligopolistic competition examples.

Monopolistic competition creates diversity and choice for the consumer within markets. With low barriers to enter and exit the market, many companies compete in this market structure. Some examples of monopolistic competition include coffee shops, dry cleaners, and gas stations. Oligopolistic competition occurs when entry and exit barriers are very high, thereby limiting the number of competitors. Some of the best examples of oligopolistic competition are smartphones, health insurance companies, and airlines.