The law primarily uses a notion of the consumer in relation to consumer protection laws, and the definition of consumer is often restricted to living persons (not corporations or businesses) and excludes commercial users.[13] A typical legal rationale for protecting the consumer is based on the notion of policing market failures and inefficiencies, such as inequalities of bargaining power between a consumer and a business.[14] As all potential voters are also consumers, consumer protection has a clear political significance.

Concern over the interests of consumers has spawned consumer activism, where organized activists do research, education and advocacy to improve the offer of products and services. Consumer education has been incorporated into some school curricula.[15][citation needed] There are also various non-profit publications, such as Which?Consumer Reports and Choice magazine, dedicated to assist in consumer education and decision making.

In India, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 differentiates the consumption of a commodity or service for personal use or to earn a livelihood. Only consumers are protected per this act and any person, entity or organization purchasing a commodity for commercial reasons are exempted from any benefits of this act.[16]