I doubt that, and I believe that it has been google policy for years now, to derank sites with thousands of single product-pages differentiating only with respect to minor aspects.
As a visitor, I would very much appreciate if the site owner grouped those products, so that I can either see all the different colors of those otherwise identical products on one page, or if I can see all your different products of one specific color on one page ( the latter a strategy which I have performed quite successfully for years now), or - as a third alternative - let me as a user chose which categorization to apply.
It is a completely different matter for products which require a technically detailed description, like e.g. electronics, cars, or machines: Here as a user I would expect the "one product one page" -scenario (however again with a concise grouping on folder-level). But for shops with thousands of similar products I would expect the site owner to help me a bit with his specific product knowledge and pre-group the mass for me.
This is simply googles law: Concentrate on the user, all else will follow.
It is so easy nowadays to import thousands of products via affiliate-csv into a database and let your scripts generate thousands of pages. But you won't seriously expect any visitor to type "blue round cylindric wooden widget" into the search slot and be happy you are the one who designed a special page for that item.
This is a complete misunderstanding of the long-tail-concept.
Particularly, if dozens of other affiliate partners used the same csv-data.
From the very beginning, I have put considerable effort in structuring my product-pages in a reasonable manner. This virtual counterpart of tidying up my b&m-store took a lot of my time. Many others, who much more cared for backlinks and big databases, sometimes for a short time performed better, but so far I prevailed all shifts of the algos and my site performs better than ever. Knocking on woods.
For me as a searcher it is only logical that pages differing only in "red" and "blue" with several kByte of otherwise identical content (like links or other boiler plates) will not rank well in google. I like that. Thanks for picking up this topic, tedster.