Drive Demand With Color: Catch Consumers' Eyes, Reflect Their Sentiments

Pantone color palettes help you fulfill shopper lifestyle needs

As the world emerges from the pandemic, it's less a return to "normal" and more an emergence to new attitudes and ways of life. For consumers, those attitudes include optimism, happiness, healthfulness (for themselves and the planet), fun and more.

To keep its members current on trends, IFPA hosted a floral-focused Virtual Town Hall on March 23, 2022. "Consumers and Color: What You Need to Know to Drive Demand - Featuring Pantone®" offered the annual look at Pantone color trends and palettes and how the industry can use them to support consumers' needs and drive sales.

Though the presentation focused on floral, color expert Laurie Pressman of the Pantone Color Institute noted that these color trends apply across the board, including produce displays, packaging, marketing and promotions.

The Visual World

The language of color speaks to consumers in this visual world. Color influences up to 85% of shoppers' purchasing decisions.

How the floral and produce supply chains use color and design will drive success, according to Pressman, who leads business and creative strategy for Pantone. She noted that no single color palette or design is sufficient, as consumers are satisfying a variety of needs when thinking about their lives and shopping in the supermarket. 

Though the reopening of offices, restaurants, entertainment and sporting events appear to lead us back to "normal," that is not the case. At best it is a "new normal" and may perhaps be a new hybrid normal.

Many people continue to work from home, extending the focus on home, family and community, and the new engagements that took hold during pandemic lockdowns remain popular:

  • Home: gardening and immersing oneself in nature, decompressing, creating home havens and outdoor expansions, artisanal and escapist influences
  • Healthfulness for people and the planet: healthy nourishment and activity, upcycling and recycling, creative expression, organics in the broadest sense
  • Increased use of technology and services: home tech systems, gaming and alternate reality, online ordering and delivery, exploration through online classes and experiences

Pressman reviewed these trend themes for 2022/2023 and covered which color palettes fit each theme:

  • Tropic Refresh: easy breezy, optimistic, renewal, sun-drenched energy, restoring inner resources
  • Epic Tales: dramatic, myth/magic, fantasy, alternate realities, bringing the screen (films/gaming) into daily life (even dressing their avatars)
  • Honesty: environmental responsibilities, upcycling and recycling, avoiding single-use items (including single-use packaging), health and responsibility, nourishment, calming and healthful hues
  • Earthbound: human warmth, revered artifacts, earth pigments, tactile and irregular surfaces, sense of intimacy
  • Unexpected Reality: keep mind and body healthy, new possibilities, undercurrent of technology, fun meets functional
  • Artisan Invention: novel bohemian masterpieces, rustic and sleek, memorable originality, new solutions to old problems, eclectic
  • Intoxicants: riveting, energizing and emphatic, over the top, individual and iconoclastic, vibrant/festive, bold, metallics, reflective, dreamlike intensity

Interpreting the Trends

Following Pressman's presentation, sponsor representatives showed floral designs they created to interpret the trends and demonstrate real-world relevance.

Pieter Landman of sponsor Sande Flowers said that coming out of the pandemic, he used more brights in his designs to reflect happiness. And he didn't select one trend but chose different directions for different people. He took a journey back to the 1980s, using pastels and brights, upcycling and recycling, and adding artisanal accents to bouquets. He suggested promoting flowers to wear - in a pocket, in the hair, or behind the ear - noting that the younger generation sees this as a way to use flowers every day.

Talmage McLaurin of sponsor Sunshine Bouquet chose a "utilitarian" theme, much like Pantone's "earthbound" theme, using lighter and brighter colors (e.g. coral) to elevate it from a fall approach and using a variety of flowers and containers for different textures and warmth. He then added darker colors from the palettes to allow the lighter and brighter colors to pop.

When asked about whether the color themes could be applied to holiday offerings, Landman and McLaurin said yes, within certain bounds. For example, don't go dark for Easter, but add some brights from these themes to the traditional pastels. Keep the usual reds and greens for Christmas and add a Sugar Plum Fairy color/design option with relevant colors as well.

Another way to diversify holiday options is to consider locale. Offerings in Miami can be brighter and more tropical for the winter holidays than they could in other locations.

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