A consumer is a person or a group who intends to order, or uses purchased
In economics, goods are items that satisfy human wants
and provide utility, for example, to a consumer making a purchase of a satisfying product. A common distinction is made between goods which are transferable, and services, which are not tra ...
, products, or services
primarily for personal,
Social organisms, including human(s), live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary or not.
The word "social" derives from ...
, family, household and similar needs, who is not directly related to entrepreneurial or business activities. The term most commonly refers to a person who purchases goods and services for personal use.
“Consumers, by definition, include us all," said President John F. Kennedy
, offering his definition to the
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is bicameral, composed of a lower body, the House of Representatives, and an upper body, the Senate. It meets in the U.S. Capitol in Was ...
on March 15, 1962. This speech became the basis for the creation of World Consumer Rights Day, now celebrated on March 15. In his speech : John Fitzgerald Kennedy outlined the integral responsibility to consumers from their respective governments to help exercise consumers' rights, including:
*The right to safety: To be protected against the marketing of goods that are hazardous to health or life.
*The right to be informed: To be protected against fraudulent, deceitful, or grossly misleading information, advertising, labeling, or other practices, and to be given the facts he needs to make an informed choice.
*The right to choose: To be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of products and services at competitive prices; and in those industries in which competition is not workable and Government regulation is substituted, an assurance of satisfactory quality and service at fair prices.
*The right to seek redressal: Consumers have the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices and exploitation. If any damage is done to a consumer, he has the right to get compensation depending on the degree of damage.
* The right to represent : Thus, the Act has enabled us as consumers to have the right to represent in the consumer courts.
Economics and marketing
An economy is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services. In general, it is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with ...
, a consumer buys goods or services primarily for consumption
and not for resale or for commercial
purposes. Consumers pay some amount of money (or equivalent) for goods or services.) then consume (use up). As such, consumers play a vital role in the
An economic system, or economic order, is a system of production, resource allocation and distribution of goods and services within a society or a given geographic area. It includes the combination of the various institutions, agencies, entit ...
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, private p ...
and form a fundamental part of any economy.
In economics, demand is the quantity of a good that consumers are willing and able to purchase at various prices during a given time. The relationship between price and quantity demand is also called the demand curve. Demand for a specific item ...
would lack one of the key motivations to produce: to sell
to consumers. The consumer also forms one end of the chain of distribution
Marketing is the process of exploring, creating, and delivering value to meet the needs of a target market in terms of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to empha ...
, instead of marketers generating broad demographic profiles
and Fisio-graphic profiles of
In marketing, market segmentation is the process of dividing a broad consumer or business market, normally consisting of existing and potential customers, into sub-groups of consumers (known as ''segments'') based on some type of shared charact ...
, marketers have started to engage in
Personalized marketing, also known as one-to-one marketing or individual marketing, is a marketing strategy by which companies leverage data analysis and digital technology to deliver individualized messages and product offerings to current or pr ...
Permission marketing is a type of advertising in which the people who are supposed to see the ads can choose whether or not to get them. This marketing type is becoming quite popular in digital marketing these days. Seth Godin first introduced t ...
In marketing, manufacturing, call centre operations, and management, mass customization makes use of flexible computer-aided systems to produce custom output. Such systems combine the low unit costs of mass production processes with the flexibility ...
to target potential consumers.
Largely due to the rise of the
The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consists ...
, consumers are shifting more and more towards becoming
A prosumer is an individual who both consumes and produces. The term is a portmanteau of the words '' producer'' and ''consumer''. Research has identified six types of prosumers: DIY prosumers, self-service prosumers, customizing prosumers, coll ...
s, consumers who are also producers (often of information and media on the
The social web is a set of social relations that link people through the World Wide Web. The social web encompasses how websites and software are designed and developed in order to support and foster social interaction. These online social inte ...
) - they influence the products created (e.g. by customization,
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people, typically via the internet. Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and alternative finance. In 2015, over was raised worldwide by crow ...
or publishing their preferences), actively participate in the production process
, or use
Interactive media normally refers to products and services on digital computer-based systems which respond to the user's actions by presenting content such as text, moving image, animation, video and audio. Since its early conception, various f ...
Law and politics
The law primarily uses a notion of the consumer in relation to
Consumer protection is the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the marketplace. Consumer protection measures are often established by law. Such laws are intended to prevent busines ...
laws, and the definition of consumer is often restricted to living persons (not corporations or businesses) and excludes commercial users. A typical legal rationale for protecting the consumer is based on the notion of policing market failures and inefficiencies, such as inequalities of bargaining power between a consumer and a business. As all potential voters are also consumers, consumer protection has a clear political significance.
Concern over the interests of consumers has spawned
''See also Brand activism''
Consumer activism is a process by which activists seek to influence the way in which goods or services are produced or delivered. Kozinets and Handelman define it as any social movement that uses society's drive for c ...
, where organized activists do research, education and advocacy to improve the offer of products and services. Consumer education has been incorporated into some school curricula. There are also various non-profit publications, such as ''
''Which?'' is a United Kingdom brand name that promotes informed consumer choice in the purchase of goods and services by testing products, highlighting inferior products or services, raising awareness of consumer rights and offering independ ...
Consumer Reports (CR), formerly Consumers Union (CU), is an American nonprofit consumer organization dedicated to independent product testing, investigative journalism, consumer-oriented research, public education, and consumer advocacy.
'' and '' Choice magazine
'', dedicated to assist in consumer education and decision making.
In India, the Consumer Protection Act 1986
differentiates the consumption of a commodity or service for personal use or to earn a livelihood. Only consumers are protected per this act and any person, entity or organization purchasing a commodity for commercial reasons are exempted from any benefits of this act.
An alpha consumer is someone that plays a key role in connecting with the concept behind a product, then adopting that product, and finally validating it for the rest of society. The term was coined by entertainment economist
An economist is ...
In sales, commerce, and economics, a customer (sometimes known as a client, buyer, or purchaser) is the recipient of a good, service, product or an idea - obtained from a seller, vendor, or supplier via a financial transaction or exchange for ...
Consumer behavior is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services. Consumer behaviour consists of how the consumer's emotions, attitudes, and p ...
* Consumer debt
* Consumer leverage ratio
Consumer organizations are advocacy groups that seek to protect people from corporate abuse like unsafe products, predatory lending, false advertising, astroturfing and pollution.
Consumer Organizations may operate via protests, litigation, cam ...
* Consumer reporting agency
* Consumer choice
Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. With the Industrial Revolution, but particularly in the 20th century, mass production led to overproduction—the s ...
* Consumers' co-operative
The concept of the informed consumer is fundamental in the law of the European Union. Since the European Council Resolution of 14 April 1975, one of the primary objectives of the European Community, and then the European Union, has been the prov ...
* Consumer rights