In economics and marketing
Typically when business people and economists talk of consumers they are talking about person as consumer, an aggregated commodity item with little individuality other than that expressed in the buy/not-buy decision. However there is a trend in marketing to individualize the concept. Instead of generating broad demographic profile and psycho graphic profiles of market segments, marketers are engaging in personalized marketing, permission marketing, and mass customization.
There is increasing backlash from the public over use of the label “consumer” rather than “customer”, with many finding it offensive and derogatory.
In law and politics
Within law, the notion of consumer is primarily used in relation to consumer 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 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 of all potential voters are also consumers, consumer protection takes on a clear political significance.
Concern over the interests of consumers has also spawned much activism, as well as incorporation of consumer education into school curricula. There are also various non-profit publications, such as Consumer Reports and Choice Magazine, dedicated to assist in consumer education and decision making, and Consumer Direct in the UK.
In the context of the Indian Consumer Protection Act 1986, a consumer is clearly differentiated in that a consumer consumers a commodity or service either for his personal domestic use or to earn his livelihood. Only consumers are protected as per this act and any person, entity or organization purchasing a commodity for commercial reasons are exempted from any benefits of this act. Furthermore, Indian case law has quite a few references on how to distingush a consumer from a customer.
In intelligence studies
Within intelligence studies, it refers to the political staff consuming and requesting intelligence.
^ Cross, Robert G. (1997). Revenue management: hard-core tactics for market domination. Broadway Books. pp. 6671. ISBN 0-553-06734-6.
^ Krohn, Lauren (1995). Consumer protection and the law: a dictionary. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 0-87436-749-2.
^ “An Institutional Analysis of Consumer Law”. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. http://law.vanderbilt.edu/journals/journal/35-01/overby.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
^ “Consumer vs Customer”. Consumerdaddy.com. http://www.consumerdaddy.com/a-23-consumer-customer.htm.
Wikibooks has a book on the topic of
Consumer leverage ratio
Mental health consumer
Consumer reporting agency
National Consumer Agency (NCA)
Categories: Economics terminology | Consumer theory | Marketing