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Bold and Blue-tiful: PPG’s 2020 Colour Report shows continued increase in blue hues

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — On Tuesday PPG released its 2020 automotive colour popularity report, and the results are mind blue-ing. 

The colour, called ‘optimistic’ by PPG, climbed to nine percent of the global colour share in 2020—a one percent increase from 2019. The trend reinforces PPG 2019 automotive colour forecast, which anticipated that sales of blue automobiles would increase over the next four years. PPG experts believe the global pandemic is likely to further fuel global preference for the colour. 

“COVID-19 has consumers focusing on their desires and priorities,” said Misty Yeomans, PPG colour styling manager, Americas. “Blue is an optimistic, comforting colour that conveys trust, dependability, confidence, healing and hope. It’s also associated with nature, cleanliness and future-forward technology.”

While blue held steady in most regions, it increased one percent in Asia-Pacific markets, accounting for virtually all the colour’s overall global growth. In North America, blues held at ten percent of the colour share, but become more popular on minivans compact cars and sports cars. Blue now commands 15 percent of the sports car segments in the region. 

As the colour blue continues to grow in popularity, Yeomans expects the colour to emerge in more vivid or desaturated shades, deep-sea luxury tones and hues with a slight turquoise influence. 

“Digital-inspired aqua-blues combine versatility with a sense of youthfulness and a fresh spirit,” said Yeomans. “The emergence of the electric vehicle (EV) market also will drive growth in vibrant tones and interesting effects, such as colour-shifting colours. We’re also seeing blue used more extensively in trim lines, logos and other accessorizing applications.”

Consumer demand and the need to accommodate autonomous driving technologies helped white remain the most popular automobile colour. While preference for white tones fell one percent from 2019, solid and metallic shades colour claimed 34 percent of the cars purchased worldwide in 2020, according to PPG’s report. 

“White colours also reflect consumers’ desire for refined simplicity and versatility in turbulent times,” Yeomans said. 

“In addition to the pearl and metallic whites that are already widely popular, we anticipate a new dimension of white stylings in the automotive market that create a warm, sophisticated feel, such as creamy shades of ivory or bone-coloured tints and ceramic effects. White colours are also highly compatible with emerging radar and LiDAR technologies that enable self-driving vehicles.”

Together, green blue and natural shades accounted for 16 percent of the global automotive colour share. This figure consistent across all regions except South America, where white, silver, black, and gray virtually eliminate these hues. 

“Red is consistent and an important colour space in the automotive market, holding steady at 8% globally,” said Yeomans. “This colour will get a new push with EV start-ups due to its stand-out nature and association with sports car models. Year after year, we see high chromatic reds growing in interest.”

Black, held steady at 18 percent compared to 2019 and retained its popularity as a core colour, due to its versatility and dramatic design potential. 

Globally, a slight decrease in the popularity of silver was balanced by a corresponding increase in preferences for gray. Silver tones dropped from 15 percent of auto builds in 2019 to 12 percent in 2020. Gray rose from 10 percent to 12 percent during the same period. 

PPG forecasts that gray will remain a popular core colour for automotive stylists moving forward, driven by the resurgence of concrete and stone materials and the ongoing appeal of ceramic and metal tones. 

Because PPG coats more surfaces than any other company and its paint colours are sold in more than 70 countries, developing colour trends is a global, cross-cultural effort. 

Fact-based collaboration among more than 20 PPG colour experts generates the company’s colour trends and consumer preferences, resulting in a unified voice on the colour direction. 

 

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