‘To LED or Not to LED?’: Using Color Priming for Influencing Consumers’ Preferences of Light Bulbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, we have seen energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs rapidly replace incandescent ones. However, results of new research are indicative of adverse health impacts of LED lighting, which is characterized by enriched blue light. Our study aims to reveal whether using color priming by attaching red/green traffic-light icons on light bulbs influences consumers’ preferences of light bulbs. We conducted a field study simulating the buying process, in which participants (N = 572) were presented with LED and carbon incandescent bulbs. We al-ternately displayed two pairs of bulbs: (1) in their original packaging and (2) in packages marked with traffic light icons (red = LED). Our results confirm that traffic light icons significantly (p < 0.01) increase the odds of choosing the healthier carbon bulb. The results highlight the benefits of attaching traffic light icons to light bulb packaging, helping consumers to make more health-conscientious purchasing decisions. Nowadays, this study’s contribution is more significant due to COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home policies, since people work or study remotely, which in-creases their exposure to household lighting. These results may incentivize policymakers to en-force adding traffic light icons to light bulb packaging, thus encouraging LED light bulb manufac-turers to reduce the blue light component in order to improve the health aspect of their bulbs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1401
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Blue light hazard
  • Color priming
  • Consumer behavior
  • Health information
  • Traffic light labeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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