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What is a Consumer?

Consumer – Any person or entity that purchases or uses goods and services from another person or entity

The consumer is the one who pays something to consume goods and services produced. As such, consumers play a vital role in the economic system of a nation. Without consumer demand, producers would lack one of the key motivations to produce: to sell to consumers. The consumer also forms part of the chain of distribution.

Recently in marketing instead of marketers generating broad demographic profiles and Fisio-graphic profiles of market segments, marketers have started to engage in personalized marketing, permission marketing, and mass customization.

Largely due to the rise of the Internet, consumers are shifting more and more towards becoming “prosumers”, consumers who are also producers (often of information and media on the social web), influence the products created ( by customization, crowdfunding or publishing their preferences), actively participate in the production process, or use interactive products.

The law primarily uses a notion of the consumers in relation to consumers protection laws, and the definition of consumer is often restricted to living persons (i.e. not corporations or businesses) and excludes commercial users. A typical legal rationale for protecting the consumers 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 consumers activism, where organized activists do research, education and advocacy to improve the offer of products and services. Consumers education has been incorporated into some school curricula. There are also various non-profit publications, such as Which?Consumer Reports and Choice Magazine, dedicated to assist in consumer education and decision making.

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