20+ Difference Between Oligopoly And Monopolistic Competition

Marketers and economists use various terms to describe the same thing: the structure of the market. Devising competitive tactics as part of a marketing strategy is how marketers see it, whereas economists look at the big picture to try to decode and predict customer behavior.

Economists, however, consider the greater picture, and so they are perpetually on the lookout for techniques to evaluate broader patterns in order to comprehend the elements that inspire customers and know how this knowledge will affect a vast portion of the population.

Comparison Between Oligopoly and Monopolistic Competition

ParameterOligopolyMonopolistic Competition
MeaningExistence on the market of conditions in which a high number of diverse enterprises compete with one another for customers in the same physical location Even though there are just a few of really powerful businesses, they are together able to exert an amazing amount of power.Monopoly refers to a situation in which one vendor controls a big proportion of a market and exercises considerable influence over how the market develops as a whole. Monopolies may be avoided by diversifying the market and allowing several sellers to compete for customers.
Entry requirementsEven though oligopolies have entrance criteria that are far more demanding than those of monopolistic competition, the difference is rather insignificant. The necessity for government clearance is one of the primary factors contributing to developing oligopoly markets. This is especially true in circumstances in which only a limited number of enterprises are permitted to participate.Nevertheless, monopolistic competition may also be an indication that a large number of businesses are allowed to enter a market. This is because more businesses mean more competition.
CharacteristicsA few very big corporations monopolize the ability to control the market. Everything that these companies have to offer is up for grabs in this market, from the products they sell to the rates at which they sell those products, as well as the kinds of services they give.Due to the fact that it has the majority of the market share, one business is in a position to dictate pricing structures for the entire industry in which it competes. This provides the organization with a considerable advantage in the market.
StructureIn an oligopolistic market, approximately the same number of enterprises compete, but four stand out in size and impact. Some cite the petroleum industry to demonstrate an oligopoly market dominated by a small number of enterprises despite a large number of firms with a lesser market share.Four thousand enterprises providing similar products or services in the same market is monopolistic competition. Only a monopoly can cause such competition. Monopolies are a kind of monopolistic competition.
PricesBecause there is now a greater degree of competition in the market, prices have become more reasonable due to this development. Nevertheless, a great deal more than in the hypothetical scenario of perfect competition, which occurs when there are a large number of purchasers and vendors in the market.It is considerably simpler for a single firm to charge much higher prices than is customary when there are no other companies competing for customers in the market.
Power sourceIt is conceivable for it to carve out its own distinct position in this market since there is not enough competition in this sector. Since of this, individual businesses have a significant amount of power over the market because they are the ones who choose what prices to charge and how much product to manufacture. As a direct consequence of this, the market is very competitive.The establishment of a supply monopoly, which would enable one to monopolize a lucrative sector of the market, is one of the options open to those interested in pursuing this business strategy.

Major Differences Between Oligopoly and Monopolistic Competition

What Exactly Is an Oligopoly?

There are just a few vendors in an oligopoly. In an oligopolistic market, the few largest suppliers account for the bulk of the market. Furthermore, the number of enterprises joining an oligopolistic sector is minimal due to the high cost of entry.

Automotive and airline corporations are examples of massive corporations operating in oligopolistic sectors. Due to their size and market share, these enterprises may set pricing at will.

Oligopoly Key Differences

  • Oligopolies restrict competition, making it easier to choose the best option from fewer providers. Increased profits from pricing may trickle down to greater salaries for workers. 
  • There is still some variation since other companies may provide equivalent offerings, but shoppers need not devote significant time to gathering information. 
  • Oligopolies have been shown to have a beneficial trickle-down impact on economies when everything goes well. 
  • When people have more disposable income thanks to salary increases, it helps the economy as a whole. 
  • In an oligopoly, companies may focus on improving existing products rather than creating new ones since there is less incentive to invest in R&D. 
  • Improvements may be made to current items. Possible new efficiencies can be found. Since there is less of a need to compete head-on with upstarts, there are fewer costs to consider. 
  • Supply and demand from shoppers can contribute to price drops. If customers don’t like your goods, they won’t sell even in a monopoly. It won’t sell if the price is too high. 
  • Companies must maintain their attractiveness to customers while still generating a profit, and this format may help them do both.

What Exactly Is Monopolistic Competition?

Numerous vendors persist even in monopolistic markets. However, they no longer provide the same items. Instead, they focus on selling differentiated items that have comparable functions but are somewhat different or at least seem distinct from competitors.

Quality, design, ease of use, proximity to the consumer, and manufacturer all play roles in setting products apart from one another on the market.

Although Coke and Pepsi are quite similar goods, some individuals have a preference for Coke. In such a scenario, customers may be enticed to switch brands.

Monopolistic Competition Key Differences

  • There are fewer obstacles to the entrance into monopolistic competition markets. The benefit extends to the industry as a whole and to individual consumers. 
  • More firms competing for customers is good for business. Having more manufacturers to choose from also means buyers won’t become bored with the market. 
  • In a monopolistic competition market, shoppers may freely try out a variety of goods and services. Advertisement is commonplace in monopolistic competition businesses. 
  • Companies strive to innovate and improve their product or service offerings in response to the intense competition they face. In turn, this leads to better-informed shoppers. 
  • The industry as a whole is in good shape since its future prosperity will be fueled by new ideas. This benefits customers with more information and reduces their need to hunt. 
  • Due to the low barriers to entry, an increasing number of vendors and manufacturers will flood the market. This is fantastic news for buyers and the business sector as a whole. 
  • Since no one company or organization can control the whole market, competition is healthy and widespread. In the end, they will be very helpful to the sector as a whole. 
  • Share of the market will be eroded if this doesn’t happen. Consumers may readily switch brands, reducing the incentive for companies to provide subpar products.

Contrast Between Oligopoly and Monopolistic Competition


  • Oligopoly – Oligopoly is a structure of the market in which there are about the same number of businesses operating throughout an industry, but only four of those businesses are important in terms of their size and impact.

    The petroleum industry is sometimes used as an example of an oligopoly market, which is a market that is defined by the dominance of a small number of enterprises despite the existence of a large number of firms with a lesser market share.
  • Monopolistic Competition – Monopolistic competition is a kind of rivalry that arises when there are 4,000 different enterprises, all competing in the same market and basically delivering the same products or services.

    This sort of rivalry can only exist when there is a monopoly on the market. One kind of market concentration is known as monopolistic competition.


  • Oligopoly – There is not much of a distinction between oligopolies and monopolies, in spite of the fact that oligopolies have entry requirements that are far more strict than those of monopolies.

    Oligopoly is often the result of a number of reasons, one of the most important of which is the need to gain government approval. This is particularly important to keep in mind in circumstances in which participation is restricted to a certain number of companies.
  • Monopolistic Competition – On the other hand, monopolistic competition may also be an indicator of whether or not a market is available for participation from a number of different businesses at the same time.

    The reason for this is that there is a link between the rise in the number of companies and an increase in the intensity of the level of competition. The level of competition tends to get more intense as the number of firms increases.


  • Oligopoly – The control that just a few very big companies previously held over the market has been further concentrated in their hands. In the framework of this market, any product and service that these companies have to offer are up for debate and review, regardless of whether or not they are currently being offered.

    This includes the services they offer and the rates at which they give them, the items they sell, and everything in between. Not only does this contain the services they provide, but also the prices they supply.
  • Monopolistic Competition – Because they have such a large market share, one specific corporation has complete pricing power in their sector. This is because they have cornered such a significant section of the consumer market. The final product offers the firm a major edge in terms of its competitive standing in the market in comparison to its other rivals.


  • Oligopoly – In a market that is characterized by oligopoly, the fact that the sellers are willing to collaborate with one another is the reason why the market continues to exist despite the absence of power sources.

    This is because oligopoly markets are defined by the fact that sellers are willing to collaborate with one another.
  • Monopolistic Competition – There are three factors from which a monopolistic market draws its authority: economic, legal, and intentional.

    Monopolies use their market dominance to eliminate rivals by undercutting prices to the point that their rivals can’t stay in business or by taking advantage of unfavorable economic circumstances, such as high requirements for initial capital.

    Intellectual property rights and other legal protections help monopolistic companies stay on top. To create monopolistic marketplaces on purpose, businesses might collude, pressure government officials, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the origin of the term oligopoly?

Oligopoly is a phrase that describes a market environment in which there are only a few of companies competing for customers. There is not one dominant company in an oligopoly; rather, many firms share market power.

As a result, there is not a single company that is able to increase its pricing over the price that would be present in the market if there were perfect competition.

What are some of the most important advantages that come with having an oligopoly?

Oligopolies are forms of markets in which competitors attempt to maximize their earnings by planning their business strategies with a keen eye on the anticipated reactions of their other rivals. Oligopolies may be found in many different industries.

Under these conditions, companies may decide to differentiate their products, which may benefit some consumers but may also come at the expense of a higher price for the firm.

In what ways does oligopoly manifest itself?

Oligopolies are a source of economic and legal concern because they have the potential to stifle new competition, hamper innovation, and drive up prices, all of which are detrimental to customers.

In an oligopoly, rather than collecting prices from the market, the firms in the oligopoly decide on pricing themselves, either collectively (in a cartel) or individually (under the leadership of one business).

What exactly does it mean for a market system to be monopolistic?

A market system with the features of a monopoly is referred to as a monopolistic market. It is considered a monopoly when just one company delivers a certain commodity or service to a large number of customers.

In a monopolistic market, the dominant corporation or monopoly exercises control over the market, allowing it to determine both the price and the supply.

When it comes to a market, what are the advantages of having a monopoly?

On the other hand, a completely competitive market is defined by the existence of an infinite number of various kinds of firms.

A monopolistic market, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of a fully competitive market. In a model of the economy that is restricted to monopoly, the monopoly firm can restrict output, raise prices, and, over the course of time, enjoy abnormally large profits.

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