Color matters…

Consumers’ decision of buying a product depends on finding a solution to their problem. There are many factors affecting consumer’s choice in purchasing a product. This study of consumers and their process which they adopt in order to select and use a particular product is known as consumer behavior. In taking these simple decisions, several things go around in the background which include finance, biology, psychology, marketing and chemistry. It is a complex process which requires time and money to analyse the consumer’s decision. Due to these reasons, marketers spend millions of dollars to understand consumers’ needs.

Consumers are the best judge of their own needs and wants which is known as consumer sovereignty. When consumers try to gather information by conducting research for the products they are looking for and forming a set of options, this is what the pre-purchase phase is all about. Purchase phase is where consumers narrow down consideration where  the decision could be in favor of delaying the purchase or may not opt for the option. On purchase of the product, success depends on level of satisfaction which could be repeat purchase, return of product or positive and negative publicity (post-purchase phase).

Source: Ali, 2011

The literature has classified and structured factors affecting purchase process as personal, psychological and social factors. Psychological factors encompass sensation, perception, motivation, learning, belief and attitude. Here the emphasis is on sensation and perception. Every individual faces several sensory stimuli daily like hearing, vision and smell. It is difficult for the consumer’s brain to work with every stimuli hence they focus on any one of them, for example color.

Though there are many factors which influence the buying decision of a consumer, the most persuasive is the visual appearance/ color which comes above all other factors such as smell, texture and sound.

So, how does color influence the decision of a consumer?

Every color is associated with different feelings and emotions.


Red color symbolizes anger, love, excitement and hunger. Red has the power to influence consumers. Mostly utilized by several health and food chains like KFC as it uses a red interior to attract customers and to induce hunger.


Source: KFC Logo,



Wealth, celebration and royalty is associated with the color purple. This color empowers the consumer’s brain and encourages contemplation. However, companies have to make sure of the shade when using this color to endorse their product as a wrong shade of purple can have a negative effect on their consumer by affecting the luxury of the product. In commercial services, this color is often used by the chocolate industry. For example Cadbury  has utilized the learning and memory process in such a way that consumers can relate this color to Cadbury without even looking at the brand name.


Source: KFC Logo,


Green is the color of nature which is used to indicate healthy, harmonious and natural aspects of a product. Companies utilize green color in order to communicate that they are environment conscious. Whole food is one such example which is America’s healthiest grocery store that represents its eco-friendly nature.

whole foods

Source: KFC Logo,


Blue is the color used in the corporate industry as it gives a sense of security and reflects authority as well as professionalism. It is associated with many software, pharmaceutical and financial companies. A darker shade of blue elicits presence of intelligence whereas a lighter shade represents trustworthiness. For example Skype, Facebook and many others utilize blue color in order to gain a sense of trust, peace and provide a calming effect.  


Source: KFC Logo,


White reflects purity, light and peace. It is used by many companies in their logos as it emphasizes fairness and equality. However, it strains customer’s eyes on their first glance. The cosmetics industry commonly uses white in order to focus on purity and equality. For example, Dove where white reinforces equality and fairness.


Source: KFC Logo,

There are several other colors having varied impacts on consumer behavior which have not been comprehensively detailed in the literature.


Source: Virginia tech,2013


Thus, it is clear that the first thing a consumer notices while buying a product is its appearance. Color is the main factor that influences the appearance of a product. Consumer behavior that favors a positive decision to buy a product depends majorly on the product’s color. Marketers needs to do more research in this field as they may not be equipped with application of color literature for a product. Consumer color choice can be derived by executing the concept of associative learning framework to the color literature. Marketing practitioners can create a color association for their products by applying classical conditioning, another of form of associative learning.



Grossman, R. and Wisenblit, J. (1999). What we know about consumers’ color choices: Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science: Vol 5, No 3. Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science, [online] 5(3), pp.78 – 88. Available at:[Accessed 1 Aug. 2016].


Iacobucci, D. (2014). Marketing Management. 4th ed. South-Western, Ch 2, Ch 14. 

Perreau, F. (2013). The 4 factors influencing consumer behavior. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Aug. 2016]. 

Stávková, J., Stejskal, L. and Toufarová, Z. (2008). Factors influencing consumer behaviour. 6th ed. [ebook] Czech Republic: Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, Brno, Czech Republic, pp.276–284. Available at: [Accessed 1 Aug. 2016].

Tornetta, S. (n.d.). How the psychology of color influences consumers. 1st ed. [ebook] Jordan Blackbird. Available at: [Accessed 30 Jul. 2016].

Virginia tech,. Virginia Tech: The Impact Of Color On Consumer Behavior. 2013. Web. 27 July 2016.

Ali, Kamil. Decision Making Process: How Consumers Make Buying Decision?. 2011. Web. 25 July 2016.


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