Skip to main content

Why Pantone’s Color of the Year Won’t Be Hot Everywhere

Living Coral might be Pantone’s Color of the Year but it won’t be trending in wardrobes everywhere.

Expect to see it favored among the fashion set, of course, but American consumers have other colors in mind when it comes to refreshing their closets for spring, according to MakerSights, a product decision platform used by retailers including Allbirds, Reebok and Madewell. The company surveyed 1,000 consumers nationwide to gauge their excitement for Pantone’s color picks as shopping for spring and summer gets underway.

There’s one region where the deep salmon pink of Living Coral will be a hit as the temperature rises, MakerSights’ data shows. People living in Southeastern states are expected to be Living Coral’s biggest consumers. And overall, it’s the “fashionable” color people are most enthusiastic about.

On the other hand, shoppers in the western states will favor a color that reflects the region’s environs, according to MakerSights. Terrarium Moss, a muted shade of green, will be more of a hit than a fiery shade like Living Coral. “It probably is not a coincidence that this very earthy, mossy color is popular in regions where…that’s the ‘habit preference,’” MakerSights co-founder and president Matt Field said of consumers’ comfort with buying what’s already familiar.

“When you have brands trying to make big investments in color and trend, it’s important to not think of [Living] Coral as a color that’s going to hold universal appeal but where you can really understand which segment of purchasers or buyers that really resonates with,” he added.

Other big colors for spring and summer will be the midnight inkiness of Eclipse Blue and royalty-inspired Princess Blue. And though it feels more appropriate for cooler temperatures, Jester Red will provide an unexpected color moment in consumer closets, MakerSights found. A couple different theories could explain why blues and reds remain popular across seasons. Core colors like white, grey, blue and red “always hold very high appeal” to consumers, Field explained.

Related Stories

But there could be something deeper at work. “The clear preference for blues and reds is going on at a time when the news is dictated by politics across America,” Field noted, adding that patriotism could be top of mind for most U.S. consumers “irrespective of their political beliefs.”

The product platform offers guidance on how retailers can distill macro trends into a winning sales strategy. At this point in the season, most retailers have their assortment set, so leveraging these insight could elevate any replenishment buys, Field said. Drilling down into color trends can help brands and retailers make sense of some of their internal design preferences in light of “what customers want and prefer,” he added. The data also can help to justify, or to veto, taking a calculated risk on hues or patterns that might be outside the customer’s “safe zone.”

Retailers could also benefit by using these color trend findings to better allocate later deliveries of products containing Living Coral-esque pinks and oranges to regions of the country where they’re more likely to sell through.

Beyond replenishment and merchandising, brands can use these color insights to better market their products to a target audience, Field said, by developing digital creative material that will appeal to shoppers’ sensibilities.

What Field calls “voice of the customer” data looks to be an important tool as retailers try to aim for more hits than misses in their seasonal planning.

“Historically and even today, there’s a heavy reliance on sources such as intuition and historical sales data,” Field said. “We don’t think forward-looking data should replace them. Rather we think of that as a third critical leg of the stool.”