How Color Affects Buying Decisions

Marketing Intelligence 18th, Sep 2013


Every retailer knows that shopping is the art of persuasion. Many factors influence a potential sale but nothing makes a bigger impression than design. In fact, 93% of customers say they place visual appearance above consideration like sound, smell, and texture. To break it down even farther, 85% of customers say that color alone is their primary reason for choosing one product over a similar one. Color can also play an important role in brand recognition, up to an 80% increase, which is directly linked to customer confidence.

Demographics and Color

Evidently color is one of the most powerful aspects of design but it is not completely universal. Studies have shown that different consumers from different parts of the world are attracted to different colors. For example, certain colors are more effective for specific demographics:

  • Orange, black, and royal blue: Attractive to impulse shoppers, these colors are often associated with clearance sales, outlet malls, and fast food.
  • Navy blue and teal: Preferred by banks and large department stores to instill confidence and appeal to shoppers on a budget.
  • Pink, sky blue, and rose: Clothing stores often use this colors to attract traditional shoppers: shoppers seeking to buy but without a specific item in mind.

In online sales there are certain colors that have come to be associated with the different aspects of shopping and decision making due to their psychological effects on shoppers:
Yellow: Evoking an optimistic and youthful attitude, this color grabs the attention of window shoppers in order to catch their interest and make them take a closer look.
Red: Causing an increase in heart rate and aggression, red is often used in clearance sales to stir up excitement and a competitive have-to-buy-it-now attitude.

  • Blue: By creating a sensation of trust and security, banks often used this color to comfort and sooth their potential clients, leading to feelings of goodwill and a positive feeling towards the brand.
  • Green: Long associated with wealth and lushness, green is an easy color for the eyes to process which leads to a calming effect on customers. Green is often used by companies involved in money-saving or ecological concerns.
  • Orange: An aggressive but invigorating color, orange is often used as a call-to action to get customers to perform a certain action whether it be to buy something or to sign up for a newsletter.
  • Pink: Romantic and feminine, pink is mostly used to market products to women and young girls.
  • Black: Powerful, sleek, and attention grabbing, black is most often used to market luxury items.
  • Purple: This soothing and calming color is often associated with beauty care or anti-aging products and can often be a good “grown-up” or less feminine replacement for pink in selling women’s items.

Color isn’t the only thing that affects shoppers but it can be a powerful one. Design, load speed, and usability will all play an important role in pleasing and converting potentially customers. For more information and to see what other factors influence online shoppers, take a look at this great infographic from Kissmetrics. If you’d rather watch than read, they also have a video version.

By: Steve Toth

2 thoughts on “How Color Affects Buying Decisions”

  1. Hey Steve! OK. This might be a little bit of topic, but does this also apply to advertisements on a website? Does the color you select for your advertisement, affect how many people are going to click on it or does it just apply to shopping?

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