Customer vs. Consumer

In a world of sales, commerce, and economics, there are many confusing words for a common man to understand. The words customer and consumer may sound similar to you, but they have completely different meanings.

The main difference between them is use. The word customer refers to an individual, business, or organization that purchases goods or services by means of monetary exchange or financial transactions. In contrast, the word consumer refers to an individual who is the end-user of the product or service offered by the business or organization.

Comparison Chart

Basis Customer Consumer
Meaning A person who buys the goods or services is known as the customer A person who consumes the goods or services is known as consumers

A customer always pays for the product or services


A consumer may or may not pay for the products or services he consumes
Purpose A customer can resale the product or also can consume it A consumer will always consume the product and cannot resell it
Type A customer can be an individual, organization, or business A consumer can only be an individual or group of people

What is Customer?

A customer is an individual or business that purchases goods or services from the seller and pays for it. Many times a customer is also the consumer, but sometimes it’s not, and the customer resells the products or services to the end-user that is the consumer.

We all have heard these phrases before,

“Customer is king.”

“Your boss is your customer.”

The customer is always right.”

These phrases highlight the importance of customers who are solely responsible for the profit of any organization. The global marketplace provides more and more choices for consumers, so their relationships can become a primary driver of why a customer chooses one company over others (or chooses none at all). When customers feel satisfaction and an attraction for a specific company or product, it simplifies their buying choices.

Customers help drive businesses, and without them, there would be no point in businesses staying open.

Types of Customers

There are five main types of customer:

Loyal Customer

These types of customers are less in numbers but promote more sales and profit as compared to other customers as these are the ones that keep coming back from home. Loyal customers are the essential segment to appease and should be top-of-mind for every company. They generally represent more than 20% of a company’s customer base but contribute to the majority of sales revenue. Loyal customers, as the name indicates, are loyal and value a product heavily. In addition, loyal customers are likely to recommend the company’s products to other people. These customers always come back to the organization over time.

Hence it is crucial to interact and keep in touch with them regularly and invest much time and effort with them. Loyal customers want individual attention, polite, and respectful responses from the supplier.

Discount Customers

Discount customers are also frequent visitors but are only a part of the business when offered with discounts on regular products and brands, or they buy only low-cost products.

“More is the discount, the more they buying.”

These customers play an important role in turning over the company’s inventory, thus focus on these types of customers is also important as they always promote distinguished part of profit into the business.

Impulse Customers

Impulse customers are one of the best customers to upsell and are the second most priority customers after loyal customers. They do not have any specific shopping list but always urge to buy what they find good and productive at that moment.

Need-Based Customers

These customers are product specific and have a habit of buying items only to which they are habitual or have a particular need for them. These are frequent customers but do not become a part of buying most of the time, so it is difficult to satisfy them.

Wandering Customers

These are the least profitable customers but draw the largest amount of traffic to the company. They investigate features of most prominent products in the market but do not buy any of those or show the least interest in buying. To grab such customers, they should be properly informed about the various positive features of the products so that they develop a sense of interest.

What Is Consumer?

A consumer is someone who uses the product or service. While a customer may or may not consume the purchased product, service, or good, a consumer, on the other hand, actually consumes or uses the product. It makes consumers great for businesses to evaluate the actual usefulness and the genuineness of their products.

Types of Consumer

  • Seasonal Consumer

Many consumers purchase and consume products on a seasonal basis. They shop at certain times when the need for them arises. It is seen that cash flow for a business selling seasonal products can be challenging, and long periods of the year may go without sales. Hence, it is vital to quickly and effectively target seasonal consumers.

  • Personal Consumer

These types of consumers are individual consumers who purchase goods for the sole purpose of personal, family, or household use.

  • Organizational Consumer

Organizational consumers purchase products for organizations, governments, and businesses. They frequently buy in bulk and may place long-term recurring orders. For this reason, an organizational consumer is usually highly prized and sought after. Products and services sold to organizational consumers are often required to meet rigorous standards. They may need to be adapted to meet the specific requirements of the buyer, and specific prices are negotiated.

  • Impulsive Consumers

Impulse buyers are consumers who make unplanned or unintended buying decisions. They make swift buying decisions and immediately purchase when they feel connected with the product and its features. There is often some kind of emotional appeal.

  • Habitual Consumers

Habitual consumers are those who feel obligated to use certain brands or types of goods. Marketers work hard to create brand loyalty among this type of consumer. It may be as simple as someone always choosing the same brand of deodorant, the same brand of soda, or shopping in the same store for groceries or clothes.

Key Differences

  1. The word “customer” is used for a person, business, or organization that buys the products or services from a shop or business and pays for it. Whereas the word “consumer” is used for an individual or group of people who consumes or uses the product or services.
  2. A customer can resell the product or services and may make a profit on it while a consumer can never resell the product or services.
  3. A customer spends the money and buys the products or goods that he may use it or resell it while a consumer always consumes or uses the products or services, and they are expected to identify the genuineness of the brand. Therefore, consumers hold a significant value in the world of business.


A person at a time may be a customer or consumer, but the meanings of these words can never be the same. A customer is always the one who purchases the goods or services and pays for it while a consumer is always the one who consumes or uses the product or services.

Leave a Comment