DuPont has released its annual Color Popularity Report, and for the first time has converged data from across the globe to create a worldwide report on how we, as a species, prefer our cars to be colored. OK, maybe that's a bit hyperbolic, but the new worldwide report confirms that Black, Silver and White reign supreme regardless of borders. The three colors are tightly packed in North America, where White is most popular at 17.8 percent with Black (17 percent) and Silver (16.8 percent) not far behind. Europeans, however, like the sleek look of Black at 27 percent compared to Silver at 19.9 percent and White falling pretty far behind at 10.2 percent. Different regions like different colors, but these three remain at or near the top across the board.
Who knows why car buyers the world over seem averse to all the colors of the rainbow. Not us. While we dig a nice metallic Silver, other colors like Red, Blue and even shades of Green have a way of teasing out a car's personality better than the grayscale stuff. If you were shopping for a new car (or are), what colors are at the top of your list? We've included a poll below to see if our audience thinks anything like a DuPont customer.
DuPont Announces World's Most Popular Car Colors
Silver Gleams in First-Ever DuPont Global Color Rankings for 2009
WILMINGTON, Del., Dec. 1, 2009 – DuPont announced that silver, black and white are the top colors in the first-ever ranking of worldwide vehicle color popularity. Now in its 57th year, the annual DuPont Global Automotive Color Popularity Report is the original and most authoritative source for automotive color popularity information and trends with detailed breakdowns for the top automotive markets as well as this year's newly announced top global colors.
Top Ten Global Vehicle Colors:
1. Silver – 25 percent
2. Black – 23 percent
3. White – 16 percent
4. Gray – 13 percent
5. Blue – 9 percent
6. Red – 8 percent
7. Brown/Beige – 4 percent
8. Green – 1 percent
9. Yellow/Gold – 1 percent
10. Others – <1 percent
"By gathering and analyzing color popularity data around the globe, DuPont is able to better identify trends and help our customers in the automotive industry develop color palettes for the future," said Nancy Lockhart, color marketing manager for DuPont OEM Performance Coatings. "The auto industry is an increasingly global business, so regional and global color data are vitally important to designers."
Although the results suggest an ongoing convergence of color choice globally with color preferences becoming more homogeneous across regions, distinct regional differences remain. The top three colors – black, white and silver – continue to show strongly around the globe with growth of these colors across regions.
"It's important to recognize that most people today, no matter where they live in the world, have access to cutting-edge information about popular colors from many sources like glossy magazines and fashionable websites and often will see the same widely distributed films," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director, Pantone Color Institute and author of the blog Eisemancolorblog.com. "The top colors become 'aspirational' with a universal appeal."
Changes Across Markets
"There are still distinct regional differences in preference, but global trends are unmistakable," said Lockhart. "Color preference can change from year to year because of a variety of factors including types of vehicles introduced, reduced vehicle size, consumer tastes and even the economy. These and other cultural, societal and demographic influences can shift regional trends over time."
In North America, white (17.8 percent) remains the top color choice with black (17 percent) and silver (16.7 percent) in second and third place. However, examining black's popularity over time shows it is rising – up six percentage points from 2005 – while silver and white have dropped in popularity by about two points over the past five years. Chroma colors blue and red remain solidly popular in the North American market, rising from 11 percent in 2006 to approximately 12 percent this year.
In Europe, the top color black (27 percent) continues to gain popularity over silver (19.9 percent), which is continuing to decline. White is growing in popularity but remains a second tier color with 10.2 percent of the market.
Japan saw a wide swing of color popularity for the year, ultimately aligning more with the North American and European markets. White remained the top color choice at 28 percent, dropping 4 points from 2008. Silver dropped five points to 23 percent, tied with black.
In contrast, the Chinese vehicle market experiences fluctuations in color preference. Silver rose four points to 36 percent for the year to remain the top color, with black dropping eight points to 23 percent as the second most popular color. As this market continues to grow there will likely be less variation year to year.
The market in India shows strong preference for silver (26.4 percent), white (23.4 percent), red (16.1 percent) and blue (10.9 percent) with the remaining colors each garnering 6 percent or less of the market. Of interest, the Russian market looks similar to India with strong chroma colors mixed throughout the rankings, most noticeably in the green area. In the Russian rankings, silver was first (23.4 percent), followed by green (18.2 percent), black (16.7 percent), blue (15.5 percent) and red (10.8 percent).
The DuPont Global Automotive Color Popularity Report remains the authoritative ranking of color preferences and is the industry's only report to include detailed information on the automotive markets in a variety of countries and regions, including: North America, Europe, Russia, South America, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, China and India.
Automotive Color Trends
"In the automotive market, it is essential to forecast trends at least three years ahead of the target model year, due to the length of time it takes to develop, source and manufacture a vehicle," said Lockhart. "As a partner with our automotive customers, DuPont develops a yearly color trends show that highlights new vehicle colors and technology advancements for the industry."
The 2009 trend show, "Contrast of Color," is focused on global interests in automotive coatings, using contrasting ideas to merge a complete and fresh approach to long-lasting color preferences. With the use of pigments and hue-shifting elements, traditional colors have been freshened to provide a sense of uniqueness and personality to consumers' vehicles.
"There are many reasons to buy a new car, yet we know color is often the 'driver' for purchasing a vehicle," said Eiseman. "Consumers have gotten very savvy about how and where to look for color trends and they do look for guidance on "what's new (and newsworthy) in color."
The color trend show uses opposite themes that evolve into one color palette of diverse, simple, complex, and upbeat color trends. The themes are defined as: "Traditional Avant-Gardist," "Normal Maniac," "High-Tech Ecologist" and "Global Patriot."
The "Traditional Avant-Gardist" category exploits colors as classic and modern. These classic colors have a twist of elegance and prestige while maintaining their long-lasting appreciation. These colors – Water Desert (blue), Wooden Nickel (medium dark gray) and Winter Lavender (purple) – are expressions of historical colors remembered by generations that have been updated to fit the future trends.
The "Normal Maniac" category shows that colors can be quite simple and frankly, wild. These colors are bright and chromatic – Simple Chaos (blue), Serious Fun (green) and Running Start (yellow). Small cars, limited editions, and aftermarket usage may showcase the confidence of this palette.
The "High-Tech Ecologist" palette features natural colors with modern characteristics. As fuel-efficient vehicles are integrated into the new vehicle market, the branding of new color spaces will evolve. This soft, yet rustic, palette will have enduring appeal for consumers – Light Intensity (orange), Frozen Wave (light blue) and Microcosm (dark blue).
The "Global Patriot" category responds to the growth in global markets. Although each region has its own preferences, general color trends are shared worldwide. This global palette will relate the worldwide trend to consumer's local demands. These familiar colors of silver, black, white, gray, blue, red and beige are updated to exhibit extensive popularity in today's mature market in Authentic Replica (dark red), Crystal Crème (beige) and Dark Diamond (silver).