Last edited 14 May 2019


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A customer (sometimes referred to as a ‘purchaser’, ‘client’ or ‘buyer’) is an individual, group or organisation which buys goods, services or ideas from a seller; the seller may also be an individual, group or organisation.

Customers act to maximise their well-being and satisfaction: they know what they want and – in a free-market economy – are more-or-less free to do what they want.

A customer makes the decision to purchase certain goods and/or services once they are satisfied their purchase will satisfy a particular need, following which a transaction occurs: this will involve a payment of money – or some other consideration – flowing from the customer to the seller.

The distinction should be made between a customer and a consumer as they are not necessarily synonymous: a product may be purchased by an individual who is not the ultimate consumer e.g a cinema owner who buys ice-cream in bulk quantities: in this case, the consumer is the cinema goer, not the cinema owner.

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