Whether you're walking down the aisle checking out the new fall line at Chico's (my favorite), frozen foods at Martin's, towels at Target or dryers at Lowe's, the colors we all see are anything by random. Color selection and management is big business.
Imagine trying to sell my mom's turquoise washer - dryer - Formica kitchen table - sheets (well, pretty much anything in the house we grew up in during the early 60's in the Atlanta area) to a 50-something market today. Yep, we'll all still buy teal stuff (or it's trendy name "Lagoon") for a few more years, but I'm guessing turquoise would only sell as a cool retro color to a sub-set of folks in their early 20's. And even though these colors are very similar, one could spell success while the other ends up as landfill trash.
Having been a member of the Color Marketing Group years back, it's actually true that they and other like-mined organizations attempt to predict colors that the public will like in the future year vs telling the public what to choose. Their goal is to help manufacturers predict color popularity so all those washing machines stay out of the landfill a little longer.
But I really do wonder about how long it takes consumers who may hate a color palette they see in the store at first, start to get used to it, see it in ads or pubs, subliminally notice it on other folks or in other homes, start to like it and then ultimately buy it.
Check out the May issue of Graphic Design USA for the Annual Color Forecast. It's sponsored by the guys who REALLY own color in my world - Pantone. But, that's another story I'll yap about later...