Consumer Awareness: Role of Government and Civil Society
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Consumer is self-explanatory and the literal meaning is "one who consumes". But, as against a customer in the market place, a consumer has a wider and broader meaning. In traditional theory, the consumer is considered to be well-informed about costs, price and quality of goods. But in the real world, things are different.
Consumer can be defined as an individual who purchases and uses products and services in contrast to manufacturers who produce the goods or services and wholesalers or retailers who distribute and sell them. This includes the user of such good or service, but not one who obtains the good for resale or commercial purposes. It covers transactions through all modes including offline, online through electronic means, teleshopping, or multi-level marketing.
Changing Indian consumer in a globalised era
When India opened its economy to the global marketplace in the early 1990s, many multinational corporations rushed in to pursue its middle-class consumers—an estimated 200 million people—only to confront low incomes, social and political conservatism, and resistance to change. It turned out that the Indian consumer was a tough one to figure out and win over.
Globalisation and liberalisation of trade and business has resulted in many products and services being available to the consumers. Growth in economy has resulted in increase in the purchasing power of the middle class, which is the largest segment of the population. This has necessitated the protection of the consumers and promotion of responsible consumer movement in the country.
Customer is king; protect the king
The consumer has to be aware of his rights and play a key role. The success of consumerism is a strong function of consumer awareness and to avoid exploitation, consumer must become knowledgeable. Many constitutional provisions have been made by government to protect the consumers. There is a great need to make them aware of their rights and responsibilities.