Savvy marketing departments rely on gender-specific advertising tactics combined with the power of color palates to sell their products and cement their brands. And if you fall under the spell of colorful packaging, your budget could be in jeopardy.
Going to a baby shower or strolling through the aisles of a toy store reminds you that generations of consumers have associated pink with girls and blue with boys. And those colorful lines have led to people assuming a baby dressed in blue must be a boy or that pink baby bottles and binkies are strictly for girls.
However, while thoughts about pink and blue (as well as other colors) fuel gender-related stereotypes, they influence spending decisions, too.
A Turkish study links color to our emotions by meeting a variety of human needs. The researchers found that along with drawing gender specific lines, color can invoke distinct and different moods.
If the color of a package or product reminds you (even subconsciously) or your mom, a long lost love or a child, you’re more likely to plunk down cash for it — even if you don’t really want it. Same goes for the color of packaging and items that make you feel generally all warm and fuzzy, nostalgic or romantic.
Think you can’t fall under the spell of color? Think again! A recent survey found 84.7 percent of consumers say color is the primary reason they buy a product. And while that makes sense when shopping for clothes or cars, color often triggers subconscious spending decisions, too. The survey says the purchasing decision is made within 90 seconds of seeing a product and that 62 to 90 percent of the judgment made is influenced by color alone rather than variables such as price, quality and texture.
Wondering how color can affect your spending habits? Here’s how researchers found the colors most prominent in products on the shelves influence our emotions and a look at how and when shades can color your financial decisions.
Red. There’s a reason this color is often associated with food brands like McDonald’s, RedRobin and Nabisco: It’s been found to stimulate appetite. It’s also found to be dynamic and used to prompt impulsivity (ever fallen prey to red-tag clearance items?). Red can also increase your heart rate, so if this is your favorite shade, you’re likely to feel excited — even a little bit — by products wrapped in and colored with red. You’re most easily tempted to bust your budget with a cachet of crimson-colored impulse buys when you’re tired. The sudden feeling of being energized can have you temporarily forgetting about your budget and focusing on the red item in front of you.
Yellow. The key to yellow’s power is hiding in your nervous system, which is stimulated when your world is lit up with this sunny hue. By sparking feelings of optimism and youthfulness, you’re most susceptible to yellow when you’re stressed out or fatigued. And shopping when you think your glass is half empty could lower your resistance to yellowy impulse purchases and items that don’t fit into your budget.
Blue. Thought of as a cool or cold color, blue has been found to stir feelings of peacefulness and relaxation. So the blue sweater staring you down in the mall you can’t afford might seem a bit more affordable after a fight with your BFF, boss or boyfriend.
Orange. Thought of as warm and exciting, orange was found to signify the need to take an action, such as buy, sell or subscribe. But amping up the feeling that you need to act immediately, rather than ponder a purchase, isn’t the only way orange products reel you in. Once it grabs your attention, orange establishes a connection with consumers by making you feel comfortable because it’s also thought to represent brands that are cheery and friendly. If you’re typically wishy-washy about your budget or impulse purchases, it’s best to not shop alone. You’ll be glad you did when a shopping buddy can help remind you of your financial goals and prevent you from falling prey to the power of orange.
Green. It’s the obvious color of money, but green’s also associated with virility (remember the urban legend surrounding the sexual powers of green M&M’s?) and fertility. The color of nature, green is also the hue most associated with purity; it commonly invokes feelings of tranquility and composure. So when your inbox is overloaded, you feel as though your world is spinning out of control or your smartphone won’t stop buzzing, you’re most likely to give in to the impulse purchases associated with items and packaging cloaked in green.
Purple. Commonly found in beauty and anti-aging products, purple was once the exclusive color that represented wealth, success, royalty and wisdom. No wonder the Dowager Countess Grantham on “Downton Abbey” owns a lot of purple frocks. So a passion for purple could have you blowing your budget on items you associate with power or success if you feel as though you’re stuck in a dead-end job or after a bad day at the office.
Photo credit: Getty Creative