consumer trends - The Color of Money - How Color Trends Affect Your Bottom Line
by Chris Malta
Out With the Old...
Each season, a new color palette emerges, designed to make consumers want to buy the latest items in the newest, freshest hues. These new colors can be seen across a broad spectrum of products: furniture, clothing, cars, toiletries, even cleaning products – there are few markets that aren't impacted.
According to Lisa Suttora, founder of WhatDoISell.com, it's no coincidence that that all those manufacturers selected the same colors for their products. Explains Suttora, "Since 1962, the Color Marketing Group (CMG) has been forecasting color trends out one to three years in advance." This association of professional color designers closely studies and identifies the direction in which color and design trends are moving. They then translate that information into marketable colors for manufactured products.
By forecasting the trends so far out, the CMG gives manufacturers time to buy their materials, source their fabrics, mix their paints, and apply the "right" colors to their product lines. The "new" and "fresh" color palette you admired in stores this season was actually carefully and thoughtfully planned out and decided on more than a year ago.
What Color Trends Are Important This Year?
Trends reflect consumer values, and color trends are no exception: the growing environmental concern over the last few years is surfacing in a more "natural" color palette for 2007. The trend towards "green" living has translated, quite literally. Green is this season's It color – not an electric green or neon green, but rather the very soft, botanical shades of green found in nature. Water blues and sky blues are big as well; and accent colors are rich, warm, and deep, inspired by the popularity of ethnic products and cooking. Of-the-earth neutrals – like the tans, browns, and beiges found in rocks, soil, and trees – are also enjoying popularity, with gray emerging as the dominant neutral for fall and winter.
The fact that a color isn't "of-the-moment" doesn't mean you shouldn't include it in your product line, or that more traditional colors are never desirable. However, it is important that your line-up carries some representation of fashionable colors because that's what consumers want to see – right now. As a retailer, you have to stay on top of current market trends to keep your products relevant to your customer base. Says Suttora, "Color trends are constantly changing, and you have to let your product line evolve accordingly, because it can make a big difference to your bottom line."