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Etymology 1[edit]

Blend of producer +‎ consumer, coined by futurologist Alvin Toffler in his book The Third Wave (1980). Concept based on suggestion by Marshall McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt in their 1972 book Take Today (p. 4) that consumers would take on producer roles in mass customization.


prosumer (plural prosumers)

  1. (buzzword) A person in postindustrial society who combines the economic roles of producer and consumer
    • [1980, Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave:
      During the First Wave most people consumed what they themselves produced. They were neither producers nor consumers in the usual sense. They were instead what might be called "prosumers."]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Blend of professional +‎ consumer.


prosumer (not comparable)

  1. (marketing, of a consumer product) Targeted at serious, enthusiastic consumers, incorporating professional features but often modified for non-professional use.
  2. (marketing, of a consumer product) high-end
Usage notes[edit]

The line between consumer and professional equipment, and hence prosumer, is fuzzy, as consumers can purchase and use professional equipment, while professionals may use equipment targeted at consumers; conversely, a professional person is unambiguously one who is paid for their work.

Any product may be marketed as prosumer (compare gourmet), but generally professional equipment differs in being high-volume, while consumer equipment is more designed for ease of use. For example a professional espresso machine is designed for commercial use, for repeatedly and rapidly making drinks throughout a day, while a prosumer machine is designed for home use, especially making a single or a few drinks without extensive preparation (“walk-up use”).

The use of the term varies significantly between products – it is frequently used to describe still cameras, but virtually never used to describe sports cars.


prosumer (plural prosumers)

  1. A serious, enthusiastic consumer: not professional (earning money), but of similar interest and skills to a (generally lower level) professional, or aspiring to such. The target market of prosumer equipment.