The Study of Consumer Behavior
Does Gender Affect Product Color Preference and Will a Person Choose Differently Due to His or Her Environment?
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 (Fishbein 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 SPSS program using Chi Square and ANOVA to produce the necessary crosstabulations. 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.
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 imbedded 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....
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