When It Comes to Paint Preferences, Men and Women Aren’t Equal: Study

While local climate plays a role, prefered automotive paint schemes largely come down to personal feelings and dealer inventory. There is also the matter of what colors are trending within the industry and, according to a recent consumer survey tabulation from iSeeCars.com, gender.

The automotive data research company compiled survey results from over 700,000 consumers and close to 30 million used car sales between 2015 and 2016 to find gender biases for specific colors. For the most part, color preferences are irrelevant. But there are a few standout shades that one group seems to prefer over the other.

For women, those colors were teal and gold. For men, it was yellow, orange, and black. However, color choice may have more to do with gender favoritism among vehicle types than an attractive paint job.

This marks teal’s first appearance in the women’s rankings since the initial iSeeCars’ color preferences study in 2013. Women now have a stronger preference than men for teal cars by 19 percent, followed by gold’s 14.5 percent, and silver’s 9.7 percent. Green, blue, and beige were also favored by women, though with a less significant bias that’s almost not worth mentioning.

Interestingly, beige went from holding a 13.5 percent larger stake of women’s hearts in 2015 to being almost dead even with men in 2016. Meanwhile, teal went from being a slightly male-dominated color choice to women’s favorite.

Men’s new preferred car color was yellow, which they favored more than women by a whopping 33.9 percent. Orange followed closely with a 32.6-percent bias, black at 14.2 percent, and brown’s 12.6 percent. In the previous year, orange was ranked first and yellow second.

“Men and women don’t just like different colors,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “Our research shows men’s preferences are much stronger than women’s, and the top color choices for both of them have actually grown to the highest percentages we’ve seen in four years.”

Still, trends showing larger gender biases in color choice may have less to do with the colors themselves than with the vehicles being purchased. Men had a stronger preference in 2016 for pickup trucks by over 200 percent, convertibles by 33.5 percent and coupes by 31.6 percent. But women had a stronger preference for SUVs (23.1 percent) and minivans (21.5 percent) — neither of which are likely to come in orange or yellow, but can definitely be had in teal or gold.

“There’s an interesting connection between gender preferences for vehicle colors and body styles. Men favor pickups and sports cars more than women do, and those segments have an unusually high percentage of brown and yellow/orange cars, respectively” said Ly. “The same is true for some of women’s favorite body styles – SUVs and minivans, which have more teal and gold cars than average.”

Black is ubiquitous, though. There are few models that don’t offer a slate color palate inside and out, yet men favored it to a much higher degree than women. The same is true for silver, which was preferred by women despite appearing on the vast majority of vehicle types. But these seem to be the exception, not the rule. Body styles seem to dictate paint choices more than any legitimate color bias between men and women.


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