We decided to embark on a survey to determine the most popular shopfront colours used in high-street and city centre locations.

Following recent articles in which we analysed internal data to identify the most popular RAL colours and gloss levels for aluminium windows, we decided to undertake an external survey to establish the most frequently used paint colours on storefronts.

What is the Most Popular Shop Front Colour?

Black was the most popular colour at the time of the survey (May 2024), which was randomised and conducted among 300 shopfronts.

This was the overall result, but this article will delve deeper into the analysis to examine colour choices by sector and business size to compare the differences and identify trends.

Why did we Carry Out the Study?

One of our primary services is paint spraying shopfronts to update or change the colours on properties. We have an idea of the popular colours due to the work we have carried out, but we wanted to see if there were any further trends that were noticeable.

Our Survey Approach

Cardiff city centre shop fronts when popular shop front colour survey undertaken

We conducted our analysis on a diverse range of locations, including 150 storefronts in the city centre and 150 storefronts in a city suburb high street.

City Centre

We visited a city centre (Cardiff) and walked down the main shopping areas, starting and finishing at random points, until we identified 150 shopfronts.


Suburb High Street

A similar approach was undertaken in a Cardiff suburb until 150 random shop front results were collected.

The survey was carried out in May 2024. For the survey data, we noted the shopfront colour (and if it had more than one colour), the type of store, and the company’s size.

Cardiff suburb shop fronts when survey undertaken to identify popular shop front colours

Survey Categories

The category data collected for each shopfront was:

Main and Secondary Colours

Black
Blue
Brown
Green
Grey
Metallic
Orange
Pink
Purple
Red
White
Yellow

Shop Type

Bakery
Beauty/Health
Betting Shop
Butcher
Charity
Coffee Shop
E-cigarette
Estate Agent
Fast Food
Financial
Mobile Phone Provider
Other
Pharmacy
Pub/Club
Restaurant
Retail
Supermarket
Travel Agent

Shop Size

  • Independent
  • Large Chain
  • Small Chain

Category Notes

The colours were broken down into the main colours plus the addition of metallic or none categories. None represents a surface without a coating; it remains bare like a metal or wooden substrate.

The colour category could have been broken down into more specific colours and shades, but for this study, we decided to use the main colours for simplicity.

The store types were broken down into the most popular shop types. Beauty and health stores include tanning salons, opticians, and others related to this sector.

Shop size was broken down into independents (one store associated with this business), small chains (less than 10 outlets under this business name), and large chains (more than 10 stores under this business name).

Results From Shop Front Colour Survey

From the random survey, here are the results from the data collected on a very cold rainy day in May 2024.

Most Popular Shopfront Colours Overall

Pie graph identifying most popular shop front colours by percentage

The most popular colours on all shop fronts surveyed are Black (36%), Grey (21.7%), and White (16.3%). Just three colours make up 76% of the colours you see on a daily basis, mirroring our internal findings of the three most frequently requested colours.

Brown was in fourth place but it must be noted that a section of 7-8 adjoined shopfronts within a building were all coated brown. This could be due to planning requirements and may affect the data.

Most Popular Shopfront Colours Used on Retail Stores

Pie Graph depicting the most popular colours for retail shopfronts

The most popular colour overall used on retail storefronts is Black(35%).

Retail Shops tend to follow the broader trend of favouring neutral colours such as Black, Grey, and White for their main choice. This is consistent with the overall dataset

These three colours have been popular for many years as they all give a modern feel but tend to age well. The choices could also reflect market practices where these colours are perceived as more professional or visually appealing to a broad audience.

Most Popular Colours Used on Banks and Building Societies

The most popular colour to use on Banks and Building Societies exteriors is Grey.

Financial Institutions tend to deviate slightly from the broader trend by favouring Grey(47%) more than Black (12%), the most common colour overall. This might suggest that financial institutions prefer a colour that conveys stability and professionalism.

The use of White(29%) remains consistent with the overall trend, reinforcing a preference for neutral and clean appearances.

The reduced use of Black and Blue and Metallic on banks and building societies may reflect a desire to blend traditional professionalism with elements of trust and security, traits often associated with Blue in colour psychology.

This analysis indicates that while financial institutions align with the general trend towards neutral colours, they prefer Grey over Black. This choice could be strategically aimed at conveying a specific corporate image that aligns with their brand values.

Most Popular Colours Used on Supermarkets

The most popular colour to use on Supermarket’s shopfront framework is Grey, with 50% of the share.

Dominance of Neutral Colours: Supermarkets heavily favour Grey and use Black and White less frequently.

Pie graph representation of most popular colours used on supermarket shop fronts

This might suggest supermarkets opt for less bold, more universally appealing choices to maintain a welcoming atmosphere for a broad customer base.

Use of Vibrant Colors:

Red’s presence in supermarkets is proportionally higher than its overall occurrence across all types. While Red is the sixth most common colour in the overall data, it is the second most frequent in supermarkets.

This aligns with marketing strategies utilising Red’s visibility and emotional impact to increase consumer engagement and sales.

Variety and Branding:

Although less common, the inclusion of colours like Green and Metallic indicates that supermarkets may be using these colours strategically. For example, Green can be associated with health and sustainability, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers. Metallic could suggest a cutting-edge, modern shopping environment.

Insights

Supermarkets appear to tailor their colour choices to enhance shopper experience and marketing effectiveness, deviating from the broader trend of predominant Black. The strategic use of Grey and Red highlights a focus on professionalism mixed with visual strategies aimed at consumer engagement.

This analysis underscores that while supermarkets align with general trends toward neutral colours, they also incorporate strategic colour choices to cater to specific marketing goals and consumer perceptions.

Most Popular Colour Choice For Coffee Shops

Black dominates as the most popular colour for a coffee shop. In line with the overall trend, it takes the biggest share (54%), followed by Grey (20.8%) but with 12.5%, Brown bucks the trend of other sectors by coming in third. This may reflect the product that they sell and aim for warm, earthy tones.

Most Popular Shopfront Colours by Business Size

Bar Chart showing most popular shop front colours by business size

Now we look at colour choices for all shop fronts based on the business size.

Black and Grey are prominent choices for the main colour across all business sizes, likely due to their professional and neutral appearance.

There is a tendency across all business sizes to omit secondary colours, possibly to maintain simplicity in branding.

Independent and small chain businesses show greater diversity in primary colour choices than large chains, possibly reflecting more personalised or niche branding strategies. This can also get customers’ attention by making them stand out from the crowd.

City Centre Versus Suburb Shop Front Colours

Variety vs. Uniformity

Suburb High street shops display more colour variety, showing personal and localised branding strategies.

City centre shops tend to adhere to a more uniform color scheme, likely due to the predominance of chain stores and franchises with established brand colors.

Strategic Colour Use

Shops on the high street use colours strategically to create a friendly and inviting atmosphere, which is crucial in community-focused areas.

In contrast, city centre shops might focus on colors that convey professionalism and reliability, appealing to a broader and potentially more diverse urban audience.

Market and Audience

The choice of colors can also reflect the target market and audience demographics. High street shops may cater to local residents, while city centre shops might target both locals and tourists, necessitating a broader appeal.

Summary

SHOP FRONT TYPEMOST POPULAR COLOUR
BakeryBlack
Beauty / HealthWhite
Betting ShopBlue
ButcherBlack
CharityBlue
Coffee ShopBlack
E-cigaretteBlack
Estate AgentsWhite
Fast FoodBlack
FinancialGrey
Mobile Phone ProviderGrey
OtherBlack
PharmacyWhite
Pub / NightclubBlack
RestaurantBlack
RetailBlack
SupermarketGrey
Travel AgentsBlack

Limitations of the Results

Whilst the survey was comprehensive, we must recognise some of the limitations in the results. For a more thorough analysis to occur, it would be advisable to get a more extensive data set covering more cities and areas. Shopping centres and retail parks were also absent from the results and could be included in a future study.

What is the Best Colour for a Shopfront?

If best means popular, Black, Grey, and White are the top three choices. However, it’s not that simple.

Best is a personal preference, and everyone’s choice differs. There are a few factors to consider.

Sector-specific– The colours above have been identified, so the best colour for a bank(grey most popular at the moment) is not necessarily the best or most popular colour for a betting shop or bakery. This leads to colour psychology, choosing a colour for a shopfront and what the provider is trying to promote.

Preferences are ever-changing and tend to be dictated by mood and external events. We cover this further in the business of colour.

Conclusion

Colour is essential to branding, marketing, and attracting potential customers. Larger retail, supermarket, financial and coffee chains invest heavily on their branding and research.

Preferences tend to change through time to reflect societal choices. Whilst Black, White and Grey are reliable and dependable that appeal to a broad demographic could this work against them in terms of standing out from the competition?

It could be worth adding a brighter secondary colour for designers and specifiers to catch consumers’ eyes. The study gives insight into today’s trends; it will be interesting to revisit this in the future to see if the colours shift.

Anthony Jones
Anthony has over 24 years experience of spraying on construction and refurbishment sites. Starting in 2000 as a business development officer before progressing into estimating and contracts management.