Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Colors of cars, what do they tell you?

If you are in the automotive research then you know what I’m talking about. In nearly every study we have done for the automotive industry, at a certain stage the question about colors play an important role. Sometimes it’s the question about the dominant color of a car in the local market, sometimes it is about to decide which color a car scribble should have as stimulus material for group discussion (or should not have). And sometimes you want to know if a given car color represents mass taste.

In a world of deep depth of information about a huge range of topic you will need to mix the sources of knowledge. It is indeed important to know your category before starting a research. Sometimes you are lucky and you will find the information you need.Let’s have a look at this piece of information.

Let’s have a look at this piece of information.
Source: Kraftfahrzeugbundesamt, Germany
Accordingly, the 1980s in Germany, red was 22% of new registrations, more than any other. A similar proportion (21.6%) was gray it was followed by white with 20.6% ¬and blue with 15.7%.

Since then, Germany has become colorless. Just 6.8 % of new registrations in 2010 were still red. Thus, the red cars have quickly become less important. Even with green, it went down (from 5.5 to 1.4%), also with blue (15.7 to 10.5%) and the other colors (10.6 to 6.9%) as brown or orange.

Big winners are the black colored cars. In 1986, only every 25th car was black (4.0%). Today, however, black is regarded as noble and almost one third (30.4%) of all cars is painted black. Only in silver / gray, there are more cars (32.6%).

Is that all the numbers could tell you?

Source: Kraftfahrzeugbundesamt,Germany
If you – like me – like accurateness and precision the answer is No! Our philosophy is to go that extra mile to deliver better results.

You can see some kind of color fashion over the years. And it would be interesting to map the socio-demographic change against these numbers.But most important is the fact that every brand (and even every model) has its own hypecycle. In 2010 it is very hard to find a non-black Jaguar, Porsche or Jeep, because all brands have a proportion of black cars registered in this year of more than 50%.

And be careful to think that every silver / gray car is premium. Smart has a proportion of 58.4% for this color. This is a good example of how putting together different sources of knowledge from existing information about the market helps you produce better research results. Let’s see what we will learn about the topic of "mixing information" at the The Market Research Event 2011 in November in Orlando, Florida, hosted by IIR USA.

About the author: Christian Dössel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA\ and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye's new media and online research approaches.

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