Meaning of Consumerism

It is well known fact that the products and services usually do not reach to the people’s expectations. If the expected level of satisfaction and the actually attained level of satisfaction are reasonably close, people will tolerate the gap. But if the actual satisfaction level is much low, it means, the gap between what people want and what they actually got  is not same then people will not tolerant the gap and the protest from the buyers arises. This phenomenon had led to a new concept called ‘Consumerism’, a name given to the consumer protection movement.

Philip Kotler has defined consumerism as ‘’a social movement seeking to increase the rights and powers of buyers in relation to sellers’’. Consumerism as a social movement built on the foundation of frustration, dissatisfaction and bitterness of consumers. It is a battle against exploitation and is collective effort of the consumers to protect their interests. It is generally organised by concerned citizen with government support, to protect and enhance the rights of buyers in relation to sellers and rights of consumer in relation to producers. It leads to development of policies aimed at regulating the products and services, methods and standards of manufacturers, sellers and the advertisers in the interest of buyers. Such regulation may be institutional strategy or embodied in a voluntary code accepted by a particular industry or it may result more indirectly from the influence of consumer organisation. Thus, consumerism is:

  • An organised effort of consumers.
  • concerned with increasing rights and powers of consumers in relation to sellers,
  • oriented towards ending the malpractices of business community,
  • aimed at obtaining adequate relief to aggrieved consumers,
  • a movement placing more stress on protection of economic interest and physical safety,
  • a psychological projection of negative attitude of dissatisfied consumers and
  • a movement encompassing various measures and activities of government business, voluntary organisation and concerned consumers to achieve consumer welfare.