How Colors Actually Affect Our Purchasing Decisions


Many of us once or multiple times have purchased items which we have no real use for and we ask ourselves later why we bought them. The reasons for these impulsive buys may be many but the most prevalent one is the color and the attractiveness of the item. When we look at online shops and sites, some have higher traffics and sales than others and close observation reveals that this is due to the colors used on the sites. Colors enables easy readership and comprehension and that is why internet links are usually colorful to aid the customer to navigate easily. A customer may decide to buy an item solely because of its color and this is the case for both genders as men and women color preferences vary. Women tend to like purple, pink, green and blues while men prefer more toned down colors like grey, black, blue.

Studies of the Psychological effects of color on consumers has proven to be very useful to marketers as it helps them to tailor make products, personalize them and narrow down the specific target groups and market segments they want to sell to. Different colors evoke different feelings and emotions in people and may even alter their decisions. Warm colors usually excite people while cool ones relax people. When advertising, this knowledge is key so that an advert can capture the attention of customers and its message be retained in their memories for the longest possible time. When an advert is memorable (mostly because of its visual properties) it directly influences the sales of the product.

For instance, blue is very soothing and it’s used to enhance trust and security feelings in customers. This color is associated with cleanliness, effectiveness, power and credibility and thus service and product providers who deal with sensitive matters e.g. banks, medical facilities, insurance companies, water companies and even electronic gadgets like Dell and HP use this color to draw customers. This color is also used in stores that carry expensive merchandise whereby the customer takes his/her time to deliberate and examine the products since they are investing largely.

Yellow is very bright and is easily seen from far. It gives the feeling of optimism and energizes you to take action instantly. It signifies warmth, intelligence, happiness, clarity and has a welcoming attitude. This is the reason why yellow is used in window displays to attract window shoppers, eateries and fast food joints which have the “on the go” image and even courier companies like DHL.


When a marketer wants customers to take urgent action, red is the color most employed. This is because its eye catching, bold and portrays enthusiasm, passion, rebelliousness, power, love, and radicality amongst other intense feelings. Red surprisingly also makes people feel hungry and hence its popularity with food and drink companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds. It’s common to see the color used in clearance sales as it creates the sense of urgency in the customers by raising their heart rates.

Recent research shows that visual appearance takes up to 93% importance in the customers mind and hence when marketing new products especially, marketers should critically consider the colors they use as they are the greatest contributors to visual appearance followed by texture at 6% and smell and sound at only 1%! When it comes to consumer assurance and confidence, customers must be able to easily recognize a brand and color was reported to increase this recognition by 80%! Most times we are able to recognize a brand from far simply because of its color. Over 80% of customers who were interviewed said that color is the basic reason why they buy a certain item.

Different colored backgrounds have different effects on customers in different scenarios. Red makes consumers more aggressive thus in auctioning of items, where red is used, bidders are very competitive and are willing to pay more to purchase an item. In negotiation of deals, the aggression is still there only that the customers want to pay as little as possible. When blue is used in the above scenarios, the consumer shows contrary behavior. Blue backgrounds increase buying in retail shops. Now you know how color is used to manipulate perceptions, alter moods, drive sales and even design products and you also have ideas of how to use it in your ventures.



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