Simply, the end-user is the consumer of a good or service, but with a slight connotation of know-how innate in the consumer. In a literal sense, the term "end-user" is used to distinguish the person who purchases and uses the good or service from individuals who are involved in the stages of its design, development and production.


In order to create a successful product or service, the people who create, develop, test and market it must think not of their own needs, but of the end-user's. For example, a computer programmer designing a software platform for trading foreign currencies would need to think about the level of interface sophistication and the steps taken by the end-user — how this customer would approach a trade, what he needs to see, how he would access data and information, how he would execute a trade and what he has to do post-trade.


References to "end-users" are common in the technology industry, suggesting that a base level of technical expertise is expected of these customers. On March 1, 2018, Proofpoint, Inc., a cybersecurity company, announced an acquisition of a security awareness training company. The CEO of Proofpoint stated: "As cybercriminals continue to look for new ways to exploit employees, companies need to be vigilant about changing end-user behavior and reducing risk with cybersecurity education solutions." In the healthcare sector, the term is heard. "At the end-user level, our products are growing," commented the CEO of Dentsply Sirona, a dental supply company, in a quarterly press release in 2016. The end-user alluded to here is a dental professional, again someone who applies skills in usage of the product.