An Act of Authority: Consumer Power

Dan Omron, Staff Writer

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People are active decision makers that choose to partake in any good or service which is readily available. The act of doing so is the only requirement in order to be labeled as a consumer.

Believe it or not, you’re a consumer. From the North Face coat you wear, to that Big Mac for lunch and Jeep Cherokee SUV that you’ve taken to work, even searching this article through your phone or computer are the results of consumerism.

You’ve chosen to purchase these goods for self-satisfaction and the necessity. Because of your participation in the market for said goods, you’ve helped businesses obtain a profit.

Businesses rely on consumers in order to establish a profit, hence the famous saying “the customer always comes first”. No customers means no profit, which means no business. However many businesses offer a variety of products and services that are essential to obtain profit and keep consumer satisfaction. When businesses compete in order to win the consumer dollar, this is otherwise known as a competitive market.

The competitive market benefits consumers because they have more options to choose from. This means more variety in a product or service, but what also determines a consumer to purchase is based off of numerous categories. But for now, let’s focus on three primary causes that affect a consumer’s decision.

  • Price
  • Income
  • Taste

Price is one of the main factors when it comes to differentiating a normal product from an inferior one. A normal product and inferior product aren’t quite different, but it depends on the quality of the good and if it gets the job done.

Income determines whether or not the product is within a reasonable budget that the consumer can afford. If the consumer doesn’t have a substantial income, they’re restricted what they’re allowed to purchase. This can severely limit and hinder businesses because consumers cannot afford luxurious items.

Taste is a combination of price, consumer income and quality of a product or service. Consumer taste is constantly changing because of technological and productive advances, which sparks a competitive market in any good to keep the interest of the customer.

Of course. Price, consumer income and consumer taste all impact an individuals willingness to participate in any market. This is defined as consumer power.

In retrospect, to establish a business requires loyal consumers. If there are no consumers buying from said business, there is no profit to be made. No profit means a business cannot flourish to offer products and services to the public, whether it be lack of taste, variety and willingness. If there is more competition in any market, it benefits the consumers because they have more options to choose from.

For example, if Weis sells pork for $5 while Giant sells the same exact product for $9, consumers will most likely flock to Weis. This is because the price is attractive and is accessible individuals with a lower income. Taste is not a valid concern here, for they’re the same good.

To the business world, they’re out to make a profit off you. In theory, you control how businesses can profit off you, but businesses also can influence your decisions as to why you should choose their product over others. That’s why corporations pump out millions of dollars in advertising, they want their product to stand out among the others. The real question is, are you willing to pay $9 for pork whereas you can get the same good for $5 elsewhere?

You decide.