Do colours influence our shopping habits?

Colour psychology plays a big part in the way we shop. A tale as old as time, the symbolism behind colours has been used for many years by marketers trying to play on our senses and trick our instincts.

With an increase in consumerism and a decrease in attention spans, brands are urged to nail colour psychology and tell stories through the shades they choose for everything, from product packaging to Instagram pages.
We have probably all heard about the basic colour associations by now; white is purity, red is passion, and purple is meant to be used by brands to sell us some sort of sophisticated appeal. But in the age of know-it-all customers where all product information lies a fingertip touch away, we definitely do not like to be sold to – millennial pink packaging or not. However, with mental health awareness on the rise and visual content creation at its peak, colour psychology still plays a massive part our purchasing decisions.
Our emotional response to colour intensity has not changed since centuries ago, according to psychology experts. We still associate bright and bold colours with making a statement, whilst pastels and lighter shades allow us to embrace our calmer selves. The reasons why certain colours grew in popularity over the years, however, are certainly related to the feelings and emotions of the generations that currently hold the highest purchasing power (aka Millennials and Gen Z natives). And with what is known as the Age of Anxiety in full swing, there is no wonder why we are gravitating towards pastel packaging – our eyes are certainly looking to soothe our souls, especially during the scary times we are currently going through. There has also been a rise in the tonal trend, where people mix and match multiple shades of the same colour to create a visual harmony. This is again, as experts agree, a call for calmness through a visually soothing appeal.

Whilst our gravitation towards pastels has undoubtedly persisted over the last few years, colour psychologists state that we still embrace bright colours as a way of escapism from the mundane. Many Autumn-Winter collections have recently showcased bright colours, as opposed to the usual array of grey and beige shades. Neon green and bright magenta have started to make an appearance in our wardrobes during the colder seasons, which experts associate with the ‘look-at-me’ attitude. And with Millennials and Gen Z being called the ‘ME” generations by many trend forecasting platforms, individualism plays an important part in colour choices for many shoppers.

When it comes to impulse purchases, studies have shown that colour affects our shopping instincts. From brand logos using certain colour schemes that instantly catch our eyes, to labels that manage to deceive the eye for a few seconds (we often associate red labels to ‘cleareance’ or ‘sales’), our reactions are subconsciously dictated by colour.
With more brands drifting away from visual traditionalism and building entire marketing strategies based on colours, our visual instincts are definitely a top priority when it comes to product and packaging development. Global events, the media and our own feelings are certainly influencing the way we embrace colour and, ultimately, our shopping patterns.

By Maria Bita