How color affects shopping habits

For every retailer, selling is the art of persuasion. There are a lot of different factors that influence how and what consumers buy. A large part of every decision is based on visual elements, and one of the strongest and most persuasive is color. Just as a store is constructed of solid matter, color is the basic building material of two-dimensional images and visual experiences. Color plays a pivotal role in the customer’s critical decision — to buy or not buy.

Color & Marketing
Research conducted in the United States states the following relationships between color and marketing:

  • 92.6 percent said that they put most importance on visual factors when purchasing products.
  • Only 5.6 percent said that the physical feel via the sense of touch was most important.
  • Hearing and smell each drew 0.9 percent.
  • When asked to approximate the importance of color when buying products, 84.7 percent of the total respondents think that color accounts for more than half among the various factors important for choosing products.

However, the effects of color differ among different cultures, so the attitudes and preferences of your target audience should be a consideration when you plan your design of any marketing materials. For example, white is the color of death in Chinese culture, but purple represents death in Brazil. Yellow is sacred to the Chinese, but signified sadness in Greece and jealousy in France. In North America, green is typically associated with jealousy. People from tropical countries respond most favorably to warm colors; people from northern climates prefer the cooler colors.

However in the western world, the following colors are associated with certain qualities or emotions:

Red — excitement, strength, sex, passion, speed, danger.
Blue — (listed as the most popular color) trust, reliability, belonging, coolness. Yellow — warmth, sunshine, cheer, happiness Orange — playfulness, warmth, vibrant
Green — nature, fresh, cool, growth, abundance
Purple — royal, spirituality, dignity
Pink — soft, sweet, nurture, security
White — pure, virginal, clean, youthful, mild. Black — sophistication, elegant, seductive, mystery
Gold — prestige, expensive
Silver — prestige, cold, scientific

Market researchers have also determined that color affects shopping habits. Impulse shoppers respond best to red-orange, black and royal blue. Shoppers who plan and stick to budgets respond best to pink, teal, light blue and navy. Traditionalists respond to pastels — pink, rose, sky blue.

Besides this, color also has the unique ability to attract specific types of shoppers and change shopping behavior.

1.Impulse Shoppers
Royal Blue

2.Shoppers on a Budget
Navy Blue

3.Traditional Buyers
Sky Blue

Overall Design
For many online shoppers, poor website navigability and poor overall designs are the reasons they choose not to purchase from a particular website.
▪ 42% of shoppers base their opinion of a website on overall design alone
▪ 52% of shoppers that did not return because of overall aesthetics

Sources:,, “The Effects of Store Environment On Shopping Behaviors: A Critical Review” by Shun Yin Lam, “The Profit of Color” by Color Marketing Group, “The Psychology of Color in Marketing” by June Campbell, “The Psychology of Web Performance”; KISSmetrics


We combine consumer psychology with AI to deliver unique customer insights and improved performance. Check us out at

Rodger Dwight Buyvoets

Written by

Founder @ Crobox



We combine consumer psychology with AI to deliver unique customer insights and improved performance. Check us out at

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