Oligopolies are prevalent throughout the world and appear to be increasing ever so rapidly. Unlike a monopoly, where one corporation dominates a certain market, an oligopoly consists of a select few companies having significant influence over an industry. Oligopolies are noticeable in a multitude of markets. While these companies are considered competitors within the specific market, they tend to cooperate with each other to benefit as a whole, which can lead to higher prices for consumers.

Common Industries Overshadowed By Oligopolies

  • Cable Television Services
  • Entertainment (Music and Film)
  • Airlines
  • Mass Media
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Computers & Software
  • Cellular Phone Services
  • Smart Phone and Computer Operating Systems
  • Aluminum and Steel
  • Oil and Gas
  • Automobiles

Specific Current Examples of Oligopolies

  1. National mass media and news outlets are a prime example of an oligopoly, with 90% of U.S. media outlets owned by six corporations: Walt Disney (DIS), Time Warner (TWX), ViacomCBS, NBC Universal, and News Corporation (NWSA).
  2. Operating systems for smartphones and computers provide excellent examples of oligopolies. Apple iOS and Google Android dominate smartphone operating systems, while computer operating systems are overshadowed by Apple and Windows.
  3. Automobile manufacturing another example of an oligopoly, with the leading auto manufacturers in the United States being Ford (F), GMC, and Fiat Chrysler.
  4. While there are smaller cell phone service providers, the providers that tend to dominate the industry are Verizon (VZ), Sprint (S), AT&T (T), and T-Mobile (TMUS).
  5. The music entertainment industry is dominated by Universal Music Group, Sony, and Warner.

What Are Current Examples of Oligopolies?