It turns out there’s a good reason women typically spend more than men.
A recent study conducted by NYC’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) determined that versions of retail products designed specifically for women cost more than similar products for men. The report examined prices for toys and accessories, children’s clothing, adult clothing, personal care products, and home health care products for seniors.
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Details on new NYC DCA study on prices for women’s products
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect about the new DCA study is how pervasive the trend of higher prices for women’s products is. On average across all five industries, women’s products cost close to 7% more than basically the same products for men.
Based on the data in the DCA report, women paid 7% more on average for toys and accessories, 4% more for children’s clothing, 8% more for adult clothing, 13% more for personal care products, 8% more for senior/home health care products
The study was designed to reflect an average consumer lifecycle, from infant to senior products, so as to be relevant to the experiences of consumers of all ages.
In 30 of the 35 product categories analyzed, the products for female consumers has notably higher prices than very similar products for male consumers. Of interest, women’s products cost more 42% of the time whereas men’s products only cost more around 18% of the time.
The DCA study also provided a few case studies on children’s cycle helmets, scooters, shampoo and razor cartridges, which made it clear how similar (or even identical) products can cost notably different amounts for males and females.
The report also highlights that the financial impact of these gender-based pricing disparities “is significant” over several decades.
A California study took a look at the issue of gender-based pricing of services back in 1994, and the results showed paid an annual “gender tax” of $1,351 for the same services as men.
Keep in mind that some products for women are made from slightly different materials and often do include extra colorings or scents not found in the male versions of the products. Industry analysts also note that marketing costs are often greater for products designed for women. However, the pricing differential between men’s and women’s products is greater than the relatively small difference in total cost of the products, meaning that manufacturers/retailers are making more profits from products designed specifically for females.