If you believe recent scuttlebutt, one of the reasons Apple is looking to release a gold iPhone 5S later this year is because gold is a color that sells really well in China. Is that supposition even remotely true though? If it is, it should be quantifiable.
Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt went looking for data to see if Chinese buyers really do like gold. Data’s actually pretty slim, but if the cars Chinese consumers buy are any concern, not only is gold not their favorite color… it’s only slightly more popular than puke green.
DeWitt located a chart released by Dupont in 2011 that shows the most popular cars by color:
Judging by this chart, Chinese consumers show a slight preference for yellow/gold cars compared with the rest of the world (2% vs. 1%), but don’t favor them as much as Russians (4%) or, for that matter, North Americans (3%).
In fact, Apple would be better off releasing a silver iPhone in China than a gold one. But the gold iPhone isn’t about China: it’s about the Western world’s ridiculous obsession with gold bling. Consider me still slightly mystified that Apple’s catering to that.