Colours in Consumer Psychology.

October 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm 1 comment

We probably like to believe, as I’ve mentioned before, that we’re immortal to any external persuasion or subliminal tactics. Nobody would like to admit that they’re easily influenced; it is associated with a weak will and inability to control our own thoughts or make our own decisions.

So what would you say if I told you that colour influences your decisions when buying things?

It is no secret that consumers place high importance on the visual stimuli of products over their smell, texture and sound. Of course there are exceptions (such as the “amazing” smell of a candle that we simply “HAVE” to buy), but as a general rule, consumers are more persuaded by visuals of a product.

Hence, colour is very important.

According to this site, colour increases brand recognition by 80%. This in turn increases the consumer confidence, which leads to a purchase!

Colours explained:

Red: Associated with speed, danger, urgency, sex, passion. You’ll often see red used in sales, and adult websites/stores. Impulse buyers respond best to red products.

Yellow: Fun, amusement, youth, happiness, warmth, sunshine. Think of fun cars like the Volkswagen beetle, they tend to attract youthful fun lovers (right…?). A lot of children’s toys come in bright yellows; even smiley faces are made yellow!

Blue: One of the most common colours, associated with trust, security, confidence and tranquility. Look at most banks – Barclays, Co-op, Halifax, Natwest, the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Bank of America – ALL blue! Police are associated with blue (not that you buy from them, but it reinforces this idea of security), as are many businesses.

Green: Relaxation, health, money, harmony, firmness. Green is one of the most easy colours for the eye to process. It tends to provoke either strong negative or positive emotions, depending on the individual. Some people see green as envy, reptiles and other things which aren’t useful to consumers!

Orange: Creativity, vibrant, reliability, celebration. It has been shown that orange (and red) actually influences people to eat quicker and then leave! Notice how most fast food restaurants use these colours? KFC, McDonalds, Burger King…

Pink: Sweet, romantic, soft, feminine. Quite self explanatory… most products for girls are pink (Barbie, dolls etc.), as are shops that sell other feminine products such as La Senza, Ann Summers. I’m sure there are many more but I don’t often take notice of pink shops (further proof that they appeal more to females!)

Black: Associated with sleek, luxury products. Along with silver (which represent prestige), you’ll notice luxury car companies tend to only use these colours. Jaguar, BMW, Aston Martin and Bentley, for example, sell mainly black and silver cars. Even their websites use these colours in their theme.

Gold: Exclusive, wealth, expense. Jewellery, perhaps?

Purple: Royalty, luxury, justice, dreams. Often also used to soothe and calm.

White: Professionalism, pure, innocence, clean. Most business websites will use white as their dominant colour, along with a different colour for their logo.

Look at some of these popular businesses, and look at the colours. What impressions do they give off? Or maybe consider what they’re TRYING to make you think?

Of course, this doesn’t apply to just shop windows and logos. Many products are coloured for exactly the same reasons.

It’s worth noting that the colours above tend to represent both USA and UK. Some other cultures will interpret certain colours in a totally different way; culture is an important factor when considering what colours to use for a business. For example, the colour yellow represents jealousy in France, sadness in Greece, happiness in the UK/USA but is very sacred to the Chinese. People from tropical countries react better to warm, vibrant colours than most. ‘Northern’ countries respond best to cool colours (pale blues etc).

So, as you can see, colours play an important role in influencing our shopping behaviours. Of course, colour does not work just on it’s own. Other factors such as time, money, effort, among other things will have a massive impact.

Happy shopping!

Sam Eddy.


Entry filed under: Consumer. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. sunitha  |  April 20, 2012 at 6:18 am

    dear sam,
    nice piece of work. i would like to work further on this topic in indian context. can you help me with some resources.


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