Also used to refer to the market segment consisting of private individuals, when selling products. Consumers usually demand less quality than professionals, so products tailored to them are of a lower caliber. For instance, compare a consumer VCR to a professional unit. The pro unit is probably built like a tank and has slightly better output quality than the consumer model, which is likely made of flimsy plastic.

The grease that run the commercial machine. The consumer is the subject of marketing and advertising in the general media, such as television, newspapers and radio.

Consumers are manipulated into buying products of dubious value, products that they don't really need, want or have any use for.

Consumers are a prerequisite for the existence of commercial companies and corporations.

In an economic system, consumers are those parties who acquire goods and/or services for personal use (as opposed to resale). They stand opposite producers: those who create the goods and/or services. All producers are also consumers, but consumers do not necessarily have to be producers.

Under a system of market fascism, such as modern American neoliberal capitalism, all members of a society are expected to primarily be consumers. Their role as consumers supercedes any meaningful sociopolitical participation beyond acquiring material goods. Consumer desires are often excessively manipulated and molded by marketers in order to steer them toward useless, high-cost products with famous brand names.

Under a more just and fair economic system, such as Participatory Economics, or "Parecon", (as outlined by Michael Albert in his book Thinking Forward) consumers would be made aware of the "true social cost" of the products they consume, and use this information to form their consumption habits. True Social Cost considers such things as the environmental damage a product both creates and requires in manufacture, accurate labor costs, etc. In essence, True Social Cost reflects the "full effects on people and society", both positive and negative.

Consumption should, ideally, be balanced with Production and Allocation in such a way as to promote the most fair and just economy possible.

Con*sum"er (?), n.

One who, or that which, consumes; as, the consumer of food.


© Webster 1913.

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