Study: White's Top Here, But Elsewhere Other Colors Rule

December 9, 2009
Its funny that some things you take for granted in the good old U.S. of A. aren't necessarily true for the rest of the world.

 For example, DuPont recently released its list of most popular car colors for the American car market and the leading color, as it has been for years, is white, but not by much. As recently as 2003, the white was the color of choice for 30 percent of the market. Today, that has fallen to 17.8 percent, while black has surged into an almost dead-even placement at number two with 17 percent.

 The rest of the color palate looks like this:

  • Silver, 15.7 percent
  • Gray, 13 percent
  • Red, 12 percent
  • Brown, 5.7 percent
  • Green, 2.8 percent
  • Yellow, 2.3 percent
  • Other colors: less than 1 percent

Nancy Lockhart, a color marketing manager for the automotive paint leader, said the study the worldwide study they had conducted was the first to help determine global consumer tastes and to see if there were shifts.

By gathering and analyzing color popular data around he globe, DuPont is able to better identify trends and help our customers in the automotive industry develop color palettes for the future, she told AOLs Auto News Service. The auto industry is an increasingly global business, so regional and global color data are vitally important to designers.

The question of the moment, though, is why it took DuPont so long to figure this out. If they had simply asked wholesalers who send our older models offshore they would have had an earful of wisdom that all of their color studies had not shown them.

For example, the two most popular colors in the rest of the world, according to wholesales with whom we have worked in the past, are silver and dark blue or black. Silver to many in the so-called third world because it is a neutral color and wont attract as much attention as say a red.

Meantime, red is a color that, despite AOL's observation that red is India's third most popular color, in the rest of the developing world red is viewed with little enthusiasm. It is, after all, a highly visible color, and it can make it an easy target.

So, while red is more popular in the West where it is viewed as a sporty, aggressive in other parts of the world, it isn't held in the same regard.

The same is true of white. While it is still, arguably, the most popular color in the U.S. domestic market with black following quite closely, if you were to try to sell a white car in some parts of the Middle East you would have a tough time of it because white, while it seems a natural for the hot weather there, is also looked upon as the color for wakes and funerals, so it is an almost impossible sale over there. However, if you were to have the same model car in black or deep navy, then it would almost be a lock (information based on authors observations while working with exporters to third world countries).

Interestingly, DuPont believes that one of the most popular colors in Russia is green, while the research that we have conducted has shown it is not quite that high. It actually depends on the green tint. If it is a flat green or a green that is tinted more olive that green, then it is not a very salable vehicle for the simple reason that people think it is a police or army vehicle. On the other hand, if it is an aqua or green/blue tint, then you cant get enough of them.

And, if the model is an SUV (four-wheel-drive, not front) and its the same color, it will sell rather quickly because the color is quite popular.

In truth, though, the top colors we have found for Russia have been blues and silvers with some golds and browns (more tan than brown) are far more popular colors.

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