How Color Affects Consumer Purchases

WeStock Team
March 16, 2023

You’re standing there, basket in hand, feet facing the colorful snack isles that towers above you. You want to try something new but you’re unsure what you want. You're faced with a decision to make based on a first appearance. Did you know that your brain registers color faster than text? And that 85% of consumers say that color is the determining factor when purchasing a particular product?

So now when you're standing there figuring out what new snack you’re going to bring home, do you reach for the comforting white bag with black print or the hot pink bag with bright yellow font? Consumers make a subconscious judgement about a product in less than 90 seconds. 62-90% of them base that assessment solely on color. So if a bright bag caught your attention right away, most likely that’s the product you’ll end up purchasing because of that initial response.

So then, how important is color when it comes to consumer purchases? Colors are associated with emotions. Certain pigments allow connections to be formed which has an effect on us making our purchase, whether we know it or not. Besides emotion, colors can also be associated with our surroundings. For example, an environmentally friendly company may pick colors that represent nature: greens, blues, and browns. It reassures the shopper that they are getting the full experience that the brand represents. There are hundreds of psychologists who have studied color’s effects on the human brain and how we interpret them. We’re going to save you the time this week and give you a quick summary of the important colors and how they can boost your sales.

color emotion guide for better understanding

We want you to take a second and look at the image above. How many of those brands would you say you reflect their messaging based on the color of their logo. Now, we know a lot of these examples provide a service or are a chain, so we’ll get more specific in regards to the CPG world. Communication through colors for brands in a grocery store is extremely important, you're sitting on a shelf surrounded by other competitors. So how do you jump off the shelf into the hands of your customers?

Ask yourself three things before we walk you through color association.

  1. Is our color consistent with our brand's identity, messaging, and emotion?
  2. Is it consistent throughout our entire company?
  3. How is it different from our competitors?

Let’s start with the color Blue

Attributes: strength, honesty, dependability, harmony, serenity

This color is gender-neutral which makes it easy to market to anyone. Because it represents dependability, it can make people feel at peace, which might be a downfall in the long run. It’s a safe color, so you might get overlooked because it’s a bit more predictable. Blue also is associated with freshness so it’s great for beverage brands.

Tip: When picking the blue you are going to use, keep in mind that a bright blue attracts a younger audience while a darker blue attracts an older audience. The color and font you pick for your packaging can also bring more life into your general packaging.  


Attributes: excitement, passion, strength

Red is a bold color. It will definitely grab the attention of a shopper passing by and usually elicits a sense of excitement. A darker shade of red can come off a bit more professional and luxurious.

Tip: Try mixing gold or silver throughout the packaging to help increase the perceived value. Red is also a great color if your products are ripe fruits or candies.


Attributes: security, growth, harmony, wealth, eco friendly

Dark green implies wealth, luxury and top quality. Light greens often suggest environmentally safe and nutritious foods.

Tip: Green is a great background color to include imagery, prints, and fun fonts.


Attributes: fun, adventurous, friendliness, optimism

Orange is different, youthful, and encourages impulse buying. It’s used less commonly, so when you see it you’re more intrigued by the product.

Tip: Pairing it with pinks or yellows imparts a feminine, summer feel. These color combinations are great for seasonal products. They also pop in pictures, which results in free marketing when your customers purchase and post photos.


Attributes: calming, non-threatening, feminine, playful

Pink catches your eyes like red and orange and is great for brands that focus on beauty products and wellness. It’s also great for drink companies that sell citrus flavors. Women who are drawn to the color pink will also feel a sense of comfort when they pick up your brand.

Tip: If you don’t want fully pink packaging, pairing it with white is a safe way to go. Pink is still going to be your main color that pops, it just won't be as overpowering. Use pink circles, stripes, half-dipped bags, or even just a pink font.


Attributes: cheery, positive, and uplifting

Yellow is another color that is great to encourage an impulsive buy. It’s bright, mentally stimulating and fun! If your goal is to lift your customers’ spirits and bring them joy, then yellow is the perfect fit for you. Use yellow on products that make you feel good.  

Tip: If your packaging is yellow, a great way to market your product is to remind your shoppers of all the joy and happiness the color brings. Spring flowers, smiley faces, and the beach evoke happy experiences, and now they can bring that feeling home through your packaging.


Attributes: indulgence, luxury, high quality

Purple makes people feel like they’re getting top-quality products. It is appropriate that chocolate brands like Cadbury use this color because it’s associated with indulgence. You’re spoiling yourself with something so rich in flavor.  

Tip: If you use purple packaging and are going for a rich look, we suggest you use a cursive font to reinforce that feeling. If you’re going for a more youthful look, then we suggest playful pops of color.


Attributes: cleanliness, purity, and simplicity

White is clean and crisp and great for a neutral background. We find comfort that it represents cleanliness.

Tip: If you use white, take this time to use your packaging as your blank canvas. Add images of varying sizes, fun color fonts, or even have packaging design competitions where your followers create a design for you that you feature on limited edition products.


Attributes: sophistication, strength, authority

Black is less commonly used in the CPG world: think about how many products you have at home in black packaging. Black tends to stand out and make products appear heavier, higher-end, and have a richer feel to them. There is a sense of mystery and curiosity behind the packaging, and even danger.  

Tip: Black is one of those colors that you can use with any color font to help tell your story. If you pair it with white it gives you a clean look. A pink font will appeal to the female audience, whereas red and orange will in some excitement.

Colors help tell a brand's story. Your packaging is the first thing a consumer sees, so you want to make sure that it works for both your product and the shopper. If you are getting ready to rebrand your product, release a limited edition product to test a new palette, or even play around with colors. We suggest you look into brands that you admire. See how their colors reflect their  messaging and see how they carry it throughout their platforms.

If you’re a brand that nailed their colors and have an explanation of why you went that route, we’d love to hear about it and share it with our brands!  Please feel free to tag us (@_westock) in your next post or even message us on Instagram! Looking forward to hearing your story!


A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing Packaging Colours

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