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The succeeding portion presents the results of the survey questionnaire. Each research objective is presented and addressed.
The first objective is to determine the degree to which consumers associate themselves with colour traits, while second objective is to determine if there are significant correlations between colour trait associations and the likelihood of purchase. The study's objectives are tackled in the succeeding paragraphs.
The average of trait association ratings for each colour and the likelihood of purchasing clothes in each colour were found to be significant and positive for the following colours: green, blue, red, white, and black. The means of the trait associations for each colour suggest that all of them may be descriptive of the respondents on average. These results lend support to the assertions of Keskar (2010) attempted to study how human behaviour is affected by colour psychology, listing the 7 colours of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. He explains that each of these colours has their own psychology which then drives us to act in certain ways depending on time, place and culture - that is, some colours mean different things depending on the culture. The current study shows that even as each colour has distinct meanings, the traits associated to each one were assessed as descriptive of themselves by the respondents. This suggests that if a retail company knows how to leverage on the influence of colour, they may use any of these colours to their advantage. It follows that if an individual is able to gain knowledge about what colours represent in various areas around the world and to various cultures, then it would be easier to market products and services to consumers by using colours that attract to them.
Green is among the colours which have shown a positive correlation with the likelihood of purchase of wardrobe in this colour. At least in the context of Store X, it is one of the more popular colours in tems of wardrobe choice of Caucasians and Asians which have composed the current sample. It is often synonymous with nature, which makes it somewhat appropriate that eco-friendly messages often use it. It is also often used to mean 'initiative' and 'wealth'. However, the latter also means that the colour green is linked to 'money', and consequently 'greed', 'envy' and 'evil'. In the present study, the respondents likewise assessed green as descriptive of themselves. But due to its soothing and calming ability, thanks in part to its association with nature and spring (Gage, 1999), it is often the colour of hospital walls. Ball (2003) also adds that green can also stand for things such as youth, generosity, intelligence, vigour, pervertedness, etc. These have been supported by the outcomes of the present study.
Blue, meanwhile, is most synonymous with confidence, stability and security, and has again been found to be positively correlated with likelihood of purchase of clothes in this colour. These have also been supported by the present study, which found that these trait associations were assessed as descriptive of the sample. A mostly masculine colour, it can stand for clouds, productivity, harmony, trust, water, ice and loyalty, among others (Gage, 2000). The significant positive correlation indicates that at least in the context of Retail Store X, it also is preferred by females, considering the balanced representation of both males and females in the present sample.
Red, meanwhile, is viewed by most as a colour of passion and intensity, and is probably the only one that can elicit a physiological response. These trait associations have been supported by the results of the present study which found that these trait associations were descriptive of them. Asian culture in general associates it with good luck and celebration, while in India it is symbolic of integrity and purity. Other researchers have also noted its direct impact on physical effects, such as heightened blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. And on the negative side, Western countries often connect the colour red with the devil (Riley, 1995). Red is also associated with feelings of strength, danger, passion, anger, aggression and general hot-bloodedness (Eiseman, 2006). This is yet another colour which has yielded a significant positive correlation with wardrobe choice, indicating that it is a popular pick from amongst the consumers of Retail Store X.
One other colour which yielded a significant, positive correlation with choice of clothes is White. It is often synonymous with neutrality, purity, youth, and of course cleanliness. Symbolic of light, it stands for ideals of truth, innocence, security and humility. Additionally, it can also mean winter, snow or general coolness, air, life, marriage and death in the West and the East, respectively, hope and emptiness (Itten, 1970). Western countries also connect white with peace, which is why the act of waving a white flag is synonymous with peace and, to a greater extent, surrender. And due to its status as a neutral colour, it is a common preference in the design of websites, acting as a good background (Albers, 2009). The present study also demonstrated that the trait associations of the colour white were assessed as descriptive of the sample, and suggests the popularity of this colour in wardrobe choice.
Black is yet another classic, multidimensional colour, carrying a myriad of both positive and negative connotations. The most common meaning of black is death, especially in the West, which is why people in Western countries would often wear black at someone's funeral - something picked up by some Eastern countries as well. Black can also carry the connotation of rebellion, which is why the antagonists in most works of fiction wear black outfits. It is plausible that black also represents individuation or being unique, a common expression that young consumers want to convey and which reflect on their choice of clothes including their colour. Those wearing black are usually thought of as elegant, sophisticated, wealthy, mysterious, serious and stylish. But on the flip side, some people could also connect it with evil, darkness, sorrow and as already mentioned, death. Its appeal in the fashion industry stems not only from its ability to make one look sophisticated and elegant, but also slimmer (Quiller, 2002). The trait associations of the colour black were assessed as descriptive of the wardrobe consumers of the retail company focused on in this study.
In summary, these results show that any colour may prospectively be used as a marketing leverage of retail players, to increase likelihood of purchase. The trait associations for each colour may be applicable to consumers. However, as will be demonstrated in the remaining objectives, the influence of other factors such as culture and age, for instance, may be used to reinforce its influence. Moreover, the influence of trait associations were strongest for the colours green, blue, red, white, and black, as attested to by the significant, positive correlations garnered for these. To validate their popularity as wardrobe colour choices, the retail company may actually look into the movement of their inventory, ascertaining whether the findings on colour preferences found in the present study are consistent with their inventory levels. However, one limitation in doing this is that the study particularly tackled
For Objective 3, there were significant, positive correlations found between attitudes and subjective norms; attitudes and behaviours; and subjective norms and behaviours. These results indicate that the Theory of Reasoned Action may also be applicable to colour psychology; suggesting both implicit and explicit effects. The theory focuses on the concept that the behavioural intention of an individual depends on his/her attitude (when it comes to behaviours and existent subjective norms). Based on this theory, a person's strength or effort can be measured by his/her behavioural intention, since it says a lot about how the person wants to carry out the behaviour itself. Fishbein (1967) mentions that the intentions of a person when it comes to behaving in a certain way is because of how his senses are stimulated. There are many ways this could be done, but in this context, the stimulation can be brought about through colour.
In this paper, the researcher has also mentioned how one's culture, background, beliefs and other demographic data (such as gender and age) could possibly influence colour associations.Two statements under the attitudes component of the TRA model speaks about the importance of colour in advertising material. These statements, are as follows: When the website of a clothes store is colourful and visually appealing, I am encouraged to visit the store; and The colours used in advertisements of clothes influence my evaluation of the brand. These results support the assertions of Latomia and Happ (1987) who discovered how different colour combinations have different effects on people. The impact of graphic designs, among other things, depends on the individual, which means that it may affect some people more than others. Moreover, these results also suggest that colour is a potent contributor to consumers' thoughts prior to purchase. Singh (2006) attests to the value of understanding how colour influences thoughts and behaviour, as this will also explain their decision-making when it comes to purchases. Considering how people only take 90 seconds at most to make purchasing decisions, it comes as no surprise that around majority of these decisions are based simply on first impressions. In short, regardless of what most people think, colours do in fact have their toll on one's mood and feelings which can go either way. They also help one distinguish between competing products. Ampuero & Villa (2006) further confirm that colour is among the most important factors where product look is concerned, and can in fact make a world of difference on one's purchasing decisions. Lange et al. (2000) also explain that through the packaging, not only are decisions influenced, the consumer also gains new assumptions and expectations. Higher expectations are often connected with high interest in the product, which can ultimately persuade a customer to make the purchase.
Clarke & Honeycutt (2000) attest to the value of sticking to a specific colour scheme in marketing and advertising in ensuring success. The past 6 decades have seen advertisers and marketers research how colours affect their advertising and marketing endeavours. Most literature on the subject agree on the multifaceted nature of colours, and on their direct impact on one's perception of products and services. These have been supported in the present study, which suggest that attitudes and beliefs towards colours lead to positive purchase behaviours. These perceptions in turn dictate how effective advertisements and marketing strategies will be. Lee & Barnes (1990) explain how colour schemes help a customer decide on whether a certain product has or lacks prestige, basing his purchase decisions from there. Another study by Hanssens & Weitz (1980) notes how colours act as an aid to improve one's learning ability, and when marketing publications, readership and sales. The same study also noted how the use of colours also increases the cost of advertisements, as can be seen how coloured ads are more attractive than their monochrome counterparts. But an equally good number of researchers have also noted the attractiveness of monochrome advertisements for the same reason.
Moreover, Kirmani (1997) has confirmed that colour is among the biggest factors when it comes to attracting customers, citing the importance of considering colours in advertisements as they already create impressions on their own. Of course, different people will have different perceptions on colours and ads; while some may gain interest when ads are flashy and brightly coloured, it is equally possible for consumers to instead be attracted to ads in black and white.
The results on the TRA portion of the current study shows that the use of apt colour schemes in retail website contributes to marketing effectiveness. Online marketing is steadily becoming a more popular method, and can have just as big an effect on consumer behaviour. As it is, there are already lots of people who would rather shop online; however, this does not mean that companies without an online presence should deviate too much from the services provided by their more technologically advanced counterparts. Since they still have the same goals, there should be nothing stopping them from doing what they have to do to meet those goals. Jacobs et al. (1991) notes that individuals belonging to industrialized nations tend to be more attracted to colours that they are already so familiar with- such as the primary colours. These factors may therefore influence the behaviour of the consumer especially when it comes to purchasing a product. Thus, instead of buying a dress that's fuchsia in colour, the female consumer from the underdeveloped side of the world may instead choose the basic pink. In relation to the Theory of Reasoned Action, it is crucial for retailers to first determine basic information with regards to the consumers' gender, age, culture, beliefs and background, since this would influence how he/she acts towards a certain colour, and ultimately, whether he/she would make positive or negative purchase decisions.
The fourth objective is To establish if there are significant differences between Caucasian and Asian respondents' likelihood of purchase of clothes of particular colour. There were no significant differences garnered on the preferences for colour, when the sample was segmented by nationality, save for the colour orange which was preferred more by Caucasian compared to Asian respondents. Demographic and cultural variables have inevitably affected how advertisements use colour schemes, as can be observed how ads in Asian countries are more likely to use bright colours. The current study, however, does not support this, as orange has been shown to be preferred by Caucasian rather than Asian respondents. Race is yet another factor, as confirmed by Lee and Barnes (1990) who made note of how magazine ads use different colours depending on whether they cater to Caucasians or African-Americans. This suggests that at least for the present sample, there may be significant differences in colour preferences as influenced by race, as attested to by the significant result on the colour orange. Such differences may be explained by Segall et al. (1999), who espouses cross-cultural psychology. In addition, comprehending such human cognitive processes can be facilitated by cultural factors. These factors are in turn characterized by further components such as 1) the visual perception of individuals, 2) their ability in memorization, 3) their attention level or attention span, 4) their reasoning level, 5) their learning ability, 6) their ability to categorize, and 7) their ability to problem-solve. According to Piamonte et al. (1999), different individuals from different cultures have differences when it comes to visual perception. This is because they have had different learning experiences with regards to perceiving certain visual images. Thus, there are two important components that shape an individual's perceptions, namely 1) the environment and 2) the culture. In addition, Liu (1973) showed that the manner in which an object is represented to an individual and the manner in which the person categorizes such an object goes accordingly to the person's own experiences that are influenced by internal and external environments. Such environments are in turn affected by their own cultural backgrounds, and therefore cannot be understood in a more general or a more universal manner. In the study, wherein various phenomena were categorized, it was found out that 'categories of money, cities and states are more culturally specific.' On the other hand, ordinary objects such as utensils are less culturally specific. In the field of marketing, it is to the marketer's advantage that he/she has knowledge of the colour associations that consumers prefer with regards to the product in question and how such colour associations can be helped by attaching fancy colour names to it as compared to generic colour names. In fact, since the colour names are different from the usual, it is even possible to charge the consumer more, due to the increased interest in the product (Skorinko et al, 2006).
The final objective is to establish if there are significant differences between young and middle aged/mature respondents' probability of purchase as influenced by colour. Two colours were more likely to be selected by older respondents (greater than 35 years old): red and violet. Moreover, three colours were more likely to be selected by younger respondents (younger than 35 years old): black; yellow; and green. Lastly, four colours were equally likely to be selected by young and old respondents in their choice of clothing colour: orange; indigo; blue; and white. According to Albers & Wber (2006), for instance, younger individuals are keener and drawn to colours that are of the primary colour spectrum. In other words, they prefer colours that are bright and basic. The preference for brighter colours seem to be applicable not only to children but for adolescents as well. Moreover, an early study by Kreitler & Kreitler (1972) also mores that age influences aesthetic experience. When retail companies become aware of these basic demographics, they become more aware of how to cater to their target market.