These lists work under the assumption that what a person bought previously is a good indicator for future buying habits. For example, if you've ever mailing list wondered why you received those unsolicited "As Seen on TV" catalogs, it's probably because you bought something you saw on TV. Watching infomercials at 3am tends to make us do impulsive things. Compiled lists are compiled from public records.
Therefore, they usually contain records from the DMV or from the census, the phone book, or even the newspaper. These lists are the cheapest option, but they are also the least likely to deliver good results. Since the information is so vague, they're mailing list almost useless to a company trying to predict consumer buying habits; in fact, throwing a dart at a list of names and calling that person directly might get you a better response rate.
When you have decided to expand your business on internet, consumer mailing lists will help you a lot to succeed. There are many brokers out there that can provide you residential lists on demand. What you need to do is check out whether the broker mailing list is reliable or not. Find out what their previous customers have to say by reading the customer feedback. Consumer list is, in fact, a database that provides you with the details of the potential customers.