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The terms "customer" and "consumer" may mean the same to a layman However, the terms "client" and "consumer" do not exactly signify the same thing to a marketer.

A customer can be defined as any person who purchases goods from a business and pats the company for the goods.

A customer is any person who receives goods or services from a seller or vendor in exchange for money or its equivalent.

A customer takes the buying decisions and might either buy products for his immediate use or to resell them for a profit.

He may or may not be the final consumer. A Customer may also be referred to as a client, buyer, or purchaser

On the other hand, a consumer is a person who uses or consumes goods.

To quote the American Heritage dictionary, a consumer is "one that consumes, especially one that acquires goods or services for direct use or ownership rather than for resale or use in production and manufacturing".

A consumer is the end user of a product. He consumes the product; he does not resale them. Therefore, a consumer purchases for his use and not for resale.

In some cases, a person may be the customer and consumer at the same time. 

For instance, if I purchase chocolates and consume them right away, I am both the customer and the consumer of the goods at the same time.

Getting customers is one of the focal points of most marketing offerings because most companies are profit-oriented and must try to sell and persuade customers to buy as much as possible to make a large profit.

However, the ultimate goal of most marketing offerings is to satisfy consumer wants and desires.

Difference between a consumer and a customer

1. In contrast to a customer, who merely purchases the goods, a consumer uses the products.

It's possible that the individual who purchases the product won't be the one who uses them. As a result, the consumer may not always be the customer.

2. A customer can buy goods and resell them for a profit because he is not the end-user of the goods or services

In contrast, a customer cannot resell goods because he is the end-user of the goods or services.

Simply put, a customer may purchase goods or services for consumption or resale. A consumer, however, only purchases goods for consumption.

3. A customer always pays for the goods or services he purchases, as opposed to the consumer, who may or may not pay for the goods or services he consumes

For example, a father may buy a notebook for his son, who will use it to write his school note. 

In this instance, the father, who is the client, pays for the book. The son, who is the consumer, is the one who used the book in reality.

4. A consumer may or may not purchase the goods by himself but the purchasing of goods is necessary for a customer as it is the core feature of a customer.

Let's look at three instances to better understand the distinction between a customer and a consumer.

Example 1

James went to the market to buy biscuits and bought biscuits, which he then eat upon arriving at his house.

Because he purchased and consumed the biscuit by himself in this instance, James is both the customer and the consumer

Example 2

James purchases biscuits at the market. He did not eat the biscuits but gave the biscuits to his wife and son, both of whom eat them.

In this case, James is only the buyer or customer of the biscuit since he did not eat the biscuit. 

The biscuit is, however, consumed by his son and wife. So, they are the consumers of the goods.

Example 3

James goes to the market and bought biscuits. He did not eat the biscuits but gave them to his wife and son, who both did not eat them.

In this case, James is the buyer of the biscuit since he did not eat the biscuit. 

The biscuit, however, has no consumer because no one ate it, causing it to go to waste.

Thus, we can summarize the following facts about consumers and customer

1. A customer is a person who buys the goods whereas a customer is a person who uses the goods

2. Mere purchasing of goods does not make a person a consumer of the goods. This is because a person may not like the product he is buying but is compelled to buy it by his family members who like the product.

3. A customer is only considered a consumer if he buys and uses the product.

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