Gender-pricing: Do women really pay more or do smart marketers change the way of thinking?

Dear women,
When walking through your drug store of trust, did you ever notice that your pink bottle of aloe vera shaving gel costs way more than the blue men’s version without aloe vera two aisles further?

And dear men,
Did you ever notice that buying Gucci Guilty (75ml) as a Valentine’s gift for your girlfriend costs you 17€ more than buying the 90ml version of it for yourself?

If you didn’t, you should pay attention to it in the future, ‘cause it is not a coincidence:  Products, targeted at women, are on average 7% more expensive than those aimed at men. For beauty products the difference is even 13% more. But there are many more interesting examples from the US:


How can this be and why do women find it okay to pay extra?

One important reason is that women pay more attention to quality and aesthetics in general, than men do, which makes them more likely to pay for inessential extras (e.g. the fancily-colored pink bottle and the added aloe vera in the shaving gel example). Furthermore, the men’s version is often seen as the normal standard product and women pay for a divergent version of that standard product. Let’s look at a mobile phone case for example. Men are usually fine with a black simple one. Women however want it pink, in the form of a teddy bear, glittering, with leopard pattern or polka dots and this is not where the list ends…



But how does all this relate to marketing?

Apparently, women accept paying a premium for products that, in their opinion, seems to maintain a higher quality or have better aesthetics than comparable products. This is a finding, which marketers can subtly use by paying special attention to product design and quality messages when marketing to women. A well-designed product with a convincing message specifically targeted to their needs seems to make women pay more.


The countertrend

However, interestingly enough, unisex trends are emerging to counter this segregation in the marketing field. Spanish retail giant Zara has just launched its “Ungendered” collection, in which there is no difference between men’s and women’s, and prices are therefore consistent across genders.


The question is: Is that mainly a trend that we see in fashion? Or will markets follow suit and reduce the gap between men’s and women’s prices? And will it be more difficult for marketers to persuade women with a shinier version of whatever in the future?

Who knows, maybe the pink aloe vera shower gel will disappear from the shelves soon to make space for a black, cheaper women’s version (I wouldn’t mind paying less 😉 )


Guest article by Lara Galka from Little.Loved.Details

Image credits: Thinkstock, ZARA