Who is a Prosumer?
A prosumer is a blend of the words “producer” and “consumer”. A Prosumer is typically a person who consumes and produces content, usually related to a particular hobby or interest. For example, a Prosumer might be an amateur photographer who takes pictures for their enjoyment but also posts some of their photographs online for others to see.
The Prosumer trend has been made possible by the rise of social media and other forms of online content sharing. Prosumer-created content is often seen as more authentic and relatable than content created by large corporations. This type of content is also typically more affordable than professional-grade content.
A prosumer is defined as a person who produces and consumes goods and services. The term “prosumer” is a portmanteau of the words “producer” and “consumer”. The term has become increasingly popular in recent years in the developed world as the line between producers and consumers has become blurred.
For example, distributed energy resources (DER) such as rooftop solar PV panels allow households to channel their own production process as per their electricity needs. Prosumer activities are becoming more common as new technologies emerge.
Prosumers in Different Contexts
In the digital world, the term “prosumer” is used to define 21st-century online buyers who not only consume products but also produce them. For example, a Prosumer might create a blog post reviewing a new product they’ve purchased. Creating customized handbags with individualized details is another example of Prosumerism.
In the sustainable development world, the term Prosumer is used to describe individuals or businesses that produce their own renewable energy. For example, a Prosumer might install rooftop solar panels on their roof to generate electricity for their home. This way, they can also generate their own power for their electric vehicles. Alternatively, a Prosumer might install a wind turbine in their backyard.
In the business world, Prosumer is used to describe a customer who takes an active role in the development or design of a product or service.
Another realm where prosumers reign is the sharing economy. To put it simply, people can both provide services (e.g., being an Airbnb host or Uber driver) and consume them (like using Airbnb or taking an Uber ride). And as more people become aware of this mutually beneficial system, the sharing economy will only continue to grow.
Origin of the Term Prosumer
The term Prosumer was coined by Alvin Toffler (a futurist) in his book Prosumer: The New Breed (1980). In the book, Toffler predicted that “the Prosumer will often be the real decision maker in the marketplace.” How is Prosumer different from Consumer?
The industrial revolution was the first wave of this Prosumer Revolution, where the major part of the population moved from an agricultural lifestyle to an urban one. This shift resulted in mass production and the need for a distribution network to bring goods to market.
The second wave of the Prosumer Revolution was driven by new technologies that emerged in the early 20th century, such as automobiles and electricity. These technologies led to new forms of production and consumption.
The third wave of the Prosumer Revolution is being driven by the increasing popularity of the online world. The internet has created new opportunities for producers and consumers to interact. For example, many companies now offer custom products that are produced based on the specifications of the customer.
The Prosumer Revolution is still in its early stages, but it is already having a major impact on the way businesses operate. The prosumer is a prime example of how the traditional roles of producers and consumers are changing.
Technological advances and an increase in user engagement have made it difficult to tell the difference between production and consumption activities. In other words, the consumer is now also a producer.
Types of Prosumers
1. DIY prosumers
These Prosumer types create and produce content or products for themselves without the help of professionals. For example, they might knit their own clothes or build their own furniture.
2. Self-service Prosumer
This Prosumer type is able to produce professional-grade content or products without any help from experts. They have the skills and knowledge to do everything themselves. For example, a self-service Prosumer might be a web designer who creates their own website without any assistance from others.
3. Customizing Prosumer
This Prosumer type likes to add their own personal touch to the products or services they consume. They might customize their clothing with unique stitching or add special features to the furniture they buy.
4. Collaborative Prosumer
This Prosumer type likes to work with others to create content or products. They might collaborate with others to write a blog post or design a piece of furniture.
5. Monetized Prosumer
This Prosumer type generates income from the content or products they create. For example, a monetized Prosumer might sell the handbags they make or the blog posts they write.
6. Economic Prosumer
This Prosumer type creates content or products that save them money. For example, an economic Prosumer might make their own laundry detergent to save on the cost of buying it from the store.
How to Become a Prosumer?
The Prosumer movement is growing as more and more people are interested in taking an active role in the development or design of the products and services they consume. Here are a few ways you can become a Prosumer:
- Create your own content: If you have a passion for writing, photography, or any other type of creative content, consider starting your own blog or website. This is a great way to share your ideas with the world and connect with like-minded individuals.
- Design your own products: If you have a knack for design, you can create your own products using online tools or by working with a professional. This is a great way to add your personal touch to the products you use.
- Collaborate with others: If you enjoy working with others, you can collaborate with them to create content or products. This is a great way to learn new skills and gain new perspectives.
- Monetize your content: If you want to generate income from your content or products, you can monetize them by selling them online. This is a great way to earn money from your creativity.
Consumer vs Prosumer
The Prosumer is a new breed of consumer who is blurring the lines between production and consumption. Prosumers are actively involved in the development or design of the products and services they consume. They are often the real decision-makers in the marketplace.
So, what sets Prosumer apart from Consumer? Here are a few key differences:
- Prosumer is active while the Consumer is passive: Prosumers don’t just consume the products and services they use–they help create them. They are often the real decision-makers in the marketplace. On the other hand, consumers are generally passive and do not have any involvement in the development or design of the products they consume.
- Prosumer is knowledgeable while the Consumer is ignorant: Prosumers are often very knowledgeable about the products and services they consume. They have a deep understanding of how they work and how they can be improved. On the other hand, consumers are often ignorant about the products they consume and have very little understanding of how they work.
- Prosumer is collaborative while the Consumer is individualistic: Prosumers often work together to create content or products. They are not afraid to share their ideas and collaborate with others. On the other hand, consumers are generally more individualistic and often don’t share their ideas or work with others.
How Prosumers impact Businesses & Economies
The Prosumer movement is having a profound impact on businesses and economies around the world. As Prosumers become more active and more involved in the development of products and services, businesses are forced to adapt. Here are a few ways in which Prosumers are impacting businesses:
1. Prosumers are changing the way businesses operate
Prosumers, or those who produce and consume content, are slowly but surely changing the status quo of how businesses operate. Nowadays, people want to be more involved in product development and design rather than being simply passive consumers. This is forcing businesses to be more open and transparent in their operations.
2. Prosumers are challenging traditional business models
Prosumers are also challenging traditional business models. With more people wanting to be involved in product development and design, businesses can no longer rely on selling products that are already developed. They must now focus on developing products with the help of their customers.
3. Prosumers are driving innovation
Prosumers are also driving innovation in the business world. With their desire to be involved in product development and design, they are constantly pushing businesses to come up with new and better products. This is resulting in a more competitive marketplace where innovation is key to success.
4. Prosumers are creating new markets
Prosumer-driven businesses are also creating new markets that didn’t exist before. For example, the rise of 3D printing has created a new market for custom-made products. This is just one example of how Prosumers are changing the business landscape.
5. Prosumers are changing the way businesses communicate
The Prosumer movement is also changing the way businesses communicate with their customers. In the past, businesses could rely on one-way communication to sell their products. However, now that Prosumers are more active and involved, businesses must adapt their communication strategies to include two-way dialogue.
As a prosumer, you have the unique opportunity to be both a producer and a consumer of content, product, or service. This gives you a lot of power to create change and influence others.
Use your prosumer status to your advantage by being active and vocal about the issues that matter to you. Be the change you want to see in the world!
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