Study of Consumer Behavior
Affect Product Color Preference and Will a Person Choose Differently Due to His or Her Environment? Final Report Executive Summary Businesses are generating an extra profit by exploiting a simple standard in society: gender specific colors. One product is offered in both feminine and masculine colors in order to boost sales for each gender class. It is questionable then if males and females actually purchase products in gender specific colors. This research project was performed to answers this question.
It also goes further as to determine if consumers choose colors differently based on their environment. We hypothesized that males will indeed choose products with masculine colors and females will choose those with colors socially deemed as feminine. Additionally, we believed that this hypothesis would hold stronger in a public setting rather than a private setting. Our hypothesis is supported by many processes and relevant theories including the Consumer Decision Making Process, the Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbone model), and the Elaboration Likelihood model.
Data collection was performed through the distribution of two consumer questionnaires.
The surveys were brief yet thorough in order to determine the color preferences of each individual. Once the data was gathered, data analysis was performed in the SPAS program using Chi Square and NOVA to produce the necessary crystallization. We were able to conclude that the main effect was supported: gender does have a large impact on color preference in product usage. While our interaction was also supported, the results were not what we had originally hypothesized.
Males and females chose gender specific colors of the products in a public setting far more often than they did in a private setting. There were many limitations to our experiment including a lack of observation and a limited sample size.
Also, human error could have occurred if participants simply avoided reading the directions of the survey or if our data was entered incorrectly. Further, we recognize that things like school spirit and a rising feminist movement could have also altered the colors chosen, thus, affecting our results.
In short, our findings suggest that consumers gravitate to that which has been instilled in their minds since birth. Introduction From the very second we are born, we are influenced by society to align with many different social standards including the understanding and liking of gender specific colors. As we know, female infants are robed in pink blankets, and male infants are robed in blue. The colors pink and blue and those similar to them have become socially deemed as feminine and masculine respectively.
It is hard to separate these colors from gender identity for the rest of our lives once embedded in our minds.
Recently, marketers have seen the value in this concept and how it can be applied to consumer behavior. They have taken the simple social standard of gender specific colors and morphed it into a marketing tool to be used by small and large companies alike to generate even larger profits. You might ask, how will this marketing tool increase profits: Simply by creating one single product and offering it in different colors. By doing so, businesses are able to separate each gender into its own target market to make the process of targeting each market more simplistic.
The simple products we use on a daily basis, from a toothbrush to headphones, were once offered in only simple, neutral colors like black and white. Now these products and hundreds of products alike can be found in an array of colors, mostly in gender specific colors like pink and blue. For instance, you can purchase a small wastebasket, a hairbrush, or even a kitchen sponge in both masculine and feminine colors. Marketers recognize that with a simple change in the color of the product, they can increase sales. Color not only stimulates interest for the individual, but also increases the power of the product.
Marketers are taking advantage of this as a way to boost sales of the opposite sex by making masculine products appeal to women ND feminine products appeal to men, simply by changing the color to be more masculine or more feminine. For instance, NFG Jerseys now come in pink instead of the traditional team colors and toolboxes come in pink as well. Also, women’s skin care brands are now developing lines for men and offering them in blue bottles, such as Esteem Lauder. Now that we see that blatant gender advertising exists, we must question its effectiveness. Are males really more likely to purchase products that are blue?
Do females purchase products specifically because they are pink or a feminine color? Do nonusers even care about color? It is also possible that as the individual ages, his or her preference for the gender specific colors could decrease. This leads us to the general purpose of this research project: To test whether the gender of the consumer affects the color of the products he or she purchases.
We would like to discover if gender marketing is actually a useful tool that should be used by producers and retailers, or if it is a waste of their time and resources.
Further, this project will attempt to uncover whether consumers would prefer certain color products in certain environments. Due to social standards, men are presumed to use and like products in masculine colors, and females, those in feminine colors. Thus, it may be that in a public setting, males and females would like and would use products in gender specific colors. We will go further in our research to test if the environment does indeed affect the chosen color of the product. The results of this research project will clearly be useful for both consumers and marketers alike.
Literature Review Our project seeks to validate the idea that both gender and environment affect what color product a consumer will buy. We expect that males will choose products with colors that are socially-deemed as masculine, and that females will choose products with colors that are socially-deemed as feminine. Additionally, we believe that this hypothesis will be more likely to occur in a public setting rather than a private setting. To come up with this hypothesis we studied several related theories that explain consumer behavior and decision-making.
Initially we reviewed the Consumer Decision Process, which states that a consumer goes through the following five stages when contemplating a purchase: Need/problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, the actual purchase or choice and post-purchase evaluation.
First, the consumer decides that there is a need for a product. This can happen because of an advertisement or simply an inability to complete a task. Next, they begin to search for information on this product including what types or brands are offered. A consumer may consult their friends or peers for advice.
In this step we believe that peers play a large part in influence even if unintentional.
Individuals will likely observe similar individuals in gender to find a suitable product choice, thus potentially perpetuating products with gender-specific colors. In short, if a guy observes his male friends on suggestions for a razor, then it is likely he will end up with razors that are masculine in color. He will likely come to the same conclusion if he uses commercials as his inspiration. Once a few brands have been narrowed down, the consumer then weighs the attributes of each brand.
Color would likely be weighed as attribute in this step. Next is the actual product choice.
This is where we believe that both environment (public or private) and gender play a part. Last is the post-choice evaluation stages, which is the stage where a consumer will consider the hooch made, review the value and determine their level of satisfaction. Another idea relevant to our hypothesis that we considered was the Fishbone Model. The model assumes that attitudes toward an object are made up of beliefs and evaluations about consequences.
Subjective norms are made up of normative beliefs about a person and motivation to comply. Together these two form the behavioral intention which ultimately determines the behavior of the consumer.
Marketers use the Fishbone Model as a guide for changing the consumer’s behavioral intention. They operate under the idea that changing beliefs, evaluations and adding new attributes ill change attitude. Likewise, changing normative beliefs, motivation to comply and introducing new referents will change behavioral intention.
Of the Fishbone Model, the normative beliefs and motivation to comply are most relevant to our study of gender and color. From infancy, we are separated by colors indicating our gender to our family, friends and the public at large. For example, blue balloons in a hospital room indicate that a baby boy has been born while pink indicate the opposite.
These form the belief that colors like blue and pink are gender specific. The motivation to imply, part of the Fishbone Model, is relevant for our research as we belief that environment will motivate specific color choices.
It is likely that even if a guy has went through all the stages and decided that a pink women’s razor is actually the best choice, he may still choose a more masculine color if surrounded by peers. His motivation to comply with society and not be ostracizes would outweigh the other criteria thus plays an important factor. Another model that we used as a basis of research was the Elaboration Likelihood Model or persuasion.
This model seeks to explain how attitudes are formed and changed.
It looks in-depth at how the position of “elaboration continuum”, high elaboration (processing and evaluating) and low elaboration (expertise and attractiveness) shapes an arguments persuasiveness. For our purposes we believe that the peripheral path is what will influence consumers to buy items in gender-specific color. Being a low involvement product infers that there will be minimal processing and simple inferences. Ads that show a woman using a pink razor with pink shaving cream will not seem offensive to people because these are low involvement products. It is unlikely that razors are a product that people eve a high interest in.
Thus a consumer may fall victim to the superficial information presented in the ad. That is why these types of products are marketed with attractive celebrities, catchy music and colorful advertising much like the Chick Intuition razor. Basing our idea on the concepts of the Consumer Decision Process, the Fishbone Model and the peripheral route of the Elaboration Likelihood Model we believe it to be high possible that males will choose products with colors that are socially-deemed as masculine, and that females will choose products with colors that re socially-deemed as feminine.
This hypothesis will be more likely to occur in a public setting rather than a private setting. Methodology Our initial hypothesis stated that the gender of the consumer would determine the color of the products he or she purchased.
We predicted that males would choose those products with colors that are socially deemed as masculine, and females would choose those products with colors that are socially deemed as feminine. For instance, males would choose a blue product over a pink one, while females would choose a pink product over a blue one.
It was crucial for us to insider the fact that consumers may choose differently under different conditions. Males would possibly choose a more feminine color under private settings, but pick the same product in a more masculine color when in a public setting and vice versa for females. Some individuals may feel the need to choose certain color products in a public setting based on the desire to conform to social standards.
Our alternative hypothesis predicted that gender impact on color preference would occur more in a public setting versus a private setting.
In order to test the above hypothesizes, we elected to develop an experimental search design to answer our initial research question: “Does gender impact color preference? ” and our alternative research question: “Does gender impact on color occur more in a public verses private setting? ” We believed that our initial question would determine that a causal relationship was present between gender and color. In this case, the cause would be the gender of the person, while the effect would be the color of the products he or she chose to buy.
We expected a strong correlation to exist between gender and color choice and that the cause, gender, precedes, the effect, color. Thus, the key independent variable would be gender, while the key dependent variable would be product color. We also believed that our alternative question would determine that a causal relationship was present between gender and environment and color.
The key independent variables would be gender and environment, while the key dependent variable would be product color.
The individuals of our group took some time to research different products and the colors they are offered in by visiting a few stores such as Wall-Mart, Target, and Bed Bath and Beyond. We found that almost all commodity products were offered in “gender specific” colors. Most products that were for men were either blue, black or gray, while those intended for only women were pink, red, and orange. From the products we saw, we decided to choose the three that both male and female individuals used on a regular basis and were offered in gender specific colors.
We chose a razor, a coffee mug, and a pen.
These three products were chosen to be used in a consumer survey, which was our method of data collection. The questionnaire we created was again to help us answer our research question: Does gender affect color preference? The survey was in hard-copy form and included a disclaimer stating the general repose of the survey- “survey sample experience” and who was conducting it. The next page presented the participant with three pictures, one of each of the aforementioned products in a neutral color (white or light gray).
Under each picture were the color options for each product: blue and pink for the disposable razor and mug, black and purple for the pen (which we noted would write in black ink). Participants were simply to view this page; no questions were to be answered on this page. There were two forms of the survey, which differed only by the instructions at the top of actual survey.
The instructions for the first survey read minor answers should reflect your opinion of the products if you were to use them only in a private setting. The instructions for the second survey read minor answers should reflect your opinion of the products if you were to use them only in a public setting”. Sixty surveys were distributed for each setting. The surveys featured fourteen questions including a variety of interval, ratio, and nominal questions, and one open-ended qualitative question. The first few questions determined the color preference of the individual for each product.
For example, the participant was asked to choose to use the disposable razor in either pink or blue.
As stated earlier, the third question referring to the pen used the colors black and purple instead of pink and blue to test additional masculine and feminine colors. The following two questions used a Liker scale to gather how likely a consumer was to buy something of an unfavorable color if it were less expensive and to Judge how important quality was in comparison to color for that individual. The next few questions inquired how much the participant liked each of the chosen colors, and of hose colors, which was his or her favorite.
Questions nine thru eleven established how frequently the individual used each of the products per week.
The last three questions were demographic in nature to help specify the gender, age, and education level of the participants. We were able to distribute one hundred twenty surveys as equally to males and females as possible. About forty surveys were distributed to the college students of Dry. Min while the remaining surveys were distributed to friends, family, co-workers, and other college students. Two weeks was the time period with which we were able o distribute the surveys and collect all relevant data.
After collecting all the data, both One-way Nova and Chi Square analysis were ran in order to test the relevance of our hypothesizes and identify whether the main effect and/or interaction effect were supported with our data.
We expected to find that the gender of the consumer would ultimately affect the color preference of the products he or she purchases. We also expect to find that the public environment would play a large factor in what color product an individual chooses due to social norms and a desire to conform.
We recognized that our teeth of data collection was not perfect or without flaws due to the constraints of time, resources, and a limited number of participants. If more time and resources were available, we would have liked to observe the individuals rather than use a questionnaire. Asking consumers about their attitudes and behavioral intentions was quite different from watching them act on that intention.
We understand that by observing, we would yield more honest and accurate results. Data Analysis Our initial hypothesis was a main effect hypothesis predicting that gender would make an impact on the product color a person would chose.
Our alternative hypothesis was an interaction effect hypothesis predicting that gender impact on color preference would occur more in a public setting versus a private setting. Three products were used to test both hypothesizes. Participants were asked if they would prefer to use a razor that was blue or pink, a coffee mug that was blue or pink, or a pen that was purple or black.
In this experiment the colors blue and black were considered to be male colors and the colors pink and purple were considered to be female colors. A SPAS Crystallization analysis was done on the effect of gender and color preference choice of a razor.
This was used to test our main effect hypothesis. It was found that 98% of males would chose to use a blue razor, while 2% of males would choose to use a pink razor. It was found that 27% of women would choose to use a blue razor, while 73% of women would choose to use a pink razor. A p-value of .
000 was found indicating that there is a significant relationship between gender and razor color preference. A SPAS Crystallization analysis was then done on the effect of gender, condition on color preference choice off razor. This was used to test our interaction effect hypothesis.
It was found that 100% of males would choose o use a blue razor in a private setting, while 94% of males would choose to use a blue razor in a public setting. It was found that 24% of females would choose to use a blue razor in a private setting, while 31% of females would choose to use a blue razor in a public setting. It was found that 0% of males would choose to use a pink razor in a private setting, while 6% of males would choose to use a pink razor in a private setting.
It was found that 77% of females would choose to use a pink razor in a private setting, while 69% of females would choose to use a pink razor in a public setting.
This data indicates an interaction effect. A p-value of . 000 was found in both the public and private settings, indicating that there is a significant effect of gender and condition on razor color preference. A SPAS Crystallization was done on the effect of gender and color preference choice of a coffee mug. This was used to test our main effect hypothesis.
It was found that 95% of males would chose to use a blue coffee mug, while 5% of males would choose to use a pink coffee mug. It would found that 47% of females would choose to use a blue coffee mug, while 53% of females would choose to use a pink coffee mug.
A p-value of . 000 was found indicating that there is a significant relationship between gender and coffee mug preference. A SPAS Crystallization was then done on the effect of gender, condition on color preference choice of a coffee mug. This was used to test our interaction effect.
It was found that 96% of males would choose to use a blue coffee mug in a private setting, while 94% of males would choose to use a blue coffee mug in a public setting. It was found that 38% of females would choose to use a blue coffee mug in a private setting, while 56% of females would choose to use a blue coffee mug in a public setting.
It was found that 4% of males would choose to use a pink coffee mug in a private setting, while 6% of males would choose to use a pink coffee mug in a public setting. It was found that 62% of females would choose to use a pink coffee mug in a private setting, while 44% of females would choose to use a pink coffee mug in a public setting. A p-value of . 000 was found in the public setting while a p-value of .
05 was found in the private setting, indicating that there is a significant effect of gender and condition on color preference of a coffee mug. A SPAS Crystallization as done on the effect of gender and color preference choice off pen.
This was used to test our main effect hypothesis. It was found that 79% of males would choose to use a black pen, while 21% of males would choose to use a purple pen. It was found that 47% females would choose to use a black pen, while 53% of females would choose to use a purple pen.
A p-value of . 001 was found indicating there is a significant relationship between gender and pen color preference. A SPAS Crystallization was then done on the effect of gender, condition, and color preference off pen. This was used to test our interaction effect hypothesis.
It was found that 76% of males would choose to use a black pen in a private setting, while 83% of males would choose to use a black pen in a public setting. It was found that 44% of females would choose to use a black pen in a private setting, while 50% of females would choose to use a black pen in a public setting.
It would found that 24% of males would choose to use a purple pen in a private setting, while 17% of males would choose to use a purple pen in a public setting. It would found that 56% of females would choose to use a purple pen in a private setting, while 50% of females choose to use a purple pen in a public setting.
A p-value of . 033 was found in the public setting while a p-value of . 018 was found in the private setting, indicating that there is a significant effect of gender and condition on color preference of a pen. Discussion The data analysis concluded that gender does indeed have an impact on color preference in product usage.
Males prefer male-oriented colors, while females prefer female-oriented colors. However although our interaction findings were significant, they were not what we expected.
When the product decision involved a razor or coffee mug, instead of males and females preferring gender associated Loren products in a public setting, it was found that they prefer gender associated colored products in a private setting. There could be a number of reasons for these findings. One reason could be that people value their individuality and they do not want to be associated by specific gender associated colors in public.
An educated female working in male dominated career may not want to be associated as a girls girl and will not use pink products in public, even though it may be her favorite color.
She may choose to use a blue colored product in public so she is not stereotyped or poorly Judged. She would be more comfortable using a pink product in the privacy of her own home. A male may now feel more comfortable using a pink product in public, since it is now acceptable for men to use or wear pink. But he may gravitate towards purchasing blue colored products for his home because he has been programmed to do so. Pink can also be associated with breast cancer awareness and is something that a person may want to show public support of through pink colored products.
The findings of pen color selection were more skewed than the color selection of a razor or coffee mug. Even though more males chose to use black en’s in a private and public setting, there was more of a percentage of them that would prefer to use a purple pen in a private or public setting, as opposed to a pink razor or pink coffee mug. We concluded that the color purple is not as feminine orientated as pink and also due to our location, males associate the color purple with LULUS, which neutralizes the feminine aspect of the color. In comparison too razor and coffee mug, the female color selection of a black or purple pen was much more even.
We concluded that females do not associate purple as being too feminine, as opposed to the color pink.
We also concluded that in general purple, as a darker color, may be deemed less feminine. It is also possible that these statistics were found due to error. It is possible that participants of the study did not read the directions properly and did not realize that the questions were supposed to be answered differently, whether it be product use in a public or private setting. It is also possible that how a participant answers a survey would be very different than how she or he would choose a product in a real situation.
Observation would have been a more effective way to determine a consumer’s true choice. There is also possible that we did not collect enough qualitative data to measure our hypothesizes, or that errors were made during data entry.
We believe that a future study could be done to find the correlation between low involvement and high involvement products and the effect it has on gender and color preference. Our specific study only considered generally low involvement products. Consumers are more likely to gravitate towards the familiar, hence choosing a gender specific color product, when they are only spending a few dollars.
A product decision may play out differently if it s an expensive item. In conclusion, our initial hypothesis was proved right. There is indeed a significant relationship between gender and product color choice.
It is interesting that people gravitate towards the colors they have been programmed to like. Further findings then showed that people gravitate towards gender specific colors in more in private, than in public. So even though it is possible that people do not want to be stereotyped in public by the color products they use or wear, they tend to resort back to the familiar when they are in the privacy of their own homes.