"Consumer preference" is a marketing term meaning a consumer likes one thing over another. For instance, a trend may indicate consumers prefer using debit cards over credit cards to pay for goods. Companies rely on surveys, information and data in order to customize products and services based upon consumer preferences, according to Cambridge Online Dictionaries.
Consumer preferences are becoming increasingly known through online sources, according to Maritz. Younger people expect companies to communicate online through forums and social media. Companies also attempt to listen to consumers' needs through online sources as well. Young consumers between 18 and 24 prefer generic online messages rather than private communications through email.
Consumer preference is a general term applied to all facets of marketing products and services. This is not to be confused with the more-specific term brand preference, which relates to consumers preferring one brand over competing brands. If one brand is unavailable, consumers will likely choose another brand to fill the gap.
A revealed preference is also a subset of consumer preferences in that companies determine consumption behavior based upon sales numbers. The theory is that companies can change strategies if consumers buy one product over another. The revealed preference theory was first promulgated in 1938.