How Color Choices Echo the Economic Climate—and Why It Matters

May 21, 2018

The concept of color affecting mood is nothing new. Ancient Egyptians and Chinese practiced chromotherapy, using colors to heal various maladies. Today’s color theory, color psychology and color therapy are our modern equivalents. What is less well known or familiar is that the opposite is also true. Mood can affect our choice of colors, and not just on an individual level.

The state of the economy deeply affects the purchasing decisions of customers across the country–from project scope to color choice—and the patterns cut across verticals. When there are changes in the economic climate, there is a sea change in color choice on everything from automotive and appliances to home furnishings, and clothing to interior and exterior paint.

Arm yourself by understanding what impacts the economy can have, so you can leverage these tendencies to deliver exactly what paint & coatings customers crave.

Paint Colors that are Risky and Bold—or Muted and Safe?

Big moments of economic uncertainty in our history have led to more somber color palette choices. When the economy struggles, there is a subtle shift to more neutral, soft and comforting colors—think off-whites, creams, pastels and warm earthtones.

Take, for example, during times of war, and economic depressions and downturns,   the more muted, neutral tones became popular as  people generally yearned to create safe places of refuge and relaxation in their homes. Likewise, many homes in the late 90’s saw white, beiges, greys, blacks and neutrals painted in nearly every room. The U.S. saw this occur as recently as 2009 during the “Great Recession”.

Conversely, when the economy is on an upswing, there is often a dramatic shift to brighter, bolder colors—think accent walls in reds or rooms in shades of purples, bright blues, oranges and more—as customers are more willing to take a risk. The U.S. economy is currently on an upswing and we’re seeing more chromatic, saturated colors being selected – across a number of color families.

And these trends hold true globally. For example, many parts of Europe  are improving economically and this has created an uptick in  more use of color  in decorating, as optimism spreads.. While the Southern European cultures already prefer a brighter color palette, positive economic trends are often harbingers of more widespread adoption.

When Paint Becomes Priority

In addition to affecting color choice, an economic downturn can substantially impact both home and commercial remodeling projects.  People become concerned about the stability of near-term finances and the uncertainty of the future, which impacts consumer confidence and disposable incomes. Remodels and renovations slow as businesses and individuals find themselves more willing to “live with” the appearance of their structures or other assets.

The upside? One of the easiest and least expensive changes to make is repainting . A new coat ofpaint, tinted with a high-quality colorant can completely change the aesthetic of a space. It’s one of the quickest and most economical ways refresh surroundings even when the economy isn’t at its best.

It is essential to understand how the economy affects mood which impacts color preferences… Paint and Coatings manufacturers, as well as global colorant providers such as Chromaflo Technologies keep a close watch on these megatrends during the upswings as well as the eventual downturns. Because paint, and color, can suddenly become priority.

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