What is an End User?

Definition: An end user is the final consumer of a product or service. They represent the end of the distribution channel. They are not to be confused with the people who purchase or order a product.

What Does End User Mean?

What is the definition of end user? End users are those who actually use the product or service. You can think of this like the consumer that a product is intended for. Many companies and people purchase products that they do not use. For instance, a retailer purchases inventory from wholesalers and manufacturers to simply resell to people who will actually use the product. The end user is the one who gets to use the product or service.

A lot of products go through a lengthy distribution channel before reaching the end customer. Thus, the manufacturer might not ever even deal directly with the customers using its products. For instance, Yamaha Music Corp doesn’t sell instruments to musicians. They sell instruments to retailers and dealers who sell them to musicians. These musicians have to like the instruments otherwise the retailers will stop carrying them and Yamaha will lose business.

That’s why it’s so important for businesses to identify and understand their products’ end customers even if they don’t deal with them directly. These are the people who actually use the products and can provide feedback about what they liked and what needs to be improved.

Let’s take a look at an example.


John needs a new air-conditioner in his office. He submits the request to his boss. His boss approves it and the request is sent to the procurement department. The company orders the air conditioner and an installer is hired to fix and test. Once the air conditioner becomes functional, John becomes the end customer of the product.

Bob buys a bar of chocolate on his way from work for his daughter Nana. Even though Bob bought the chocolate, Nana is the one who actually consumes the chocolate. Thus, she is the end consumer.

The term is also used in the information technology to refer to the people who actually get to use a piece of software or hardware rather than those making it possible to them to use.

Summary Definition

Define End Users: End user means the last intended person to purchase and use a product or service.