More than a year ago, Bargain Babe wrote about a Consumer Reports finding that women pay as much as 50% more for similar products than men. Armed with a pen and notepad, I headed to my local drugstore to see if this was still the case. I compared 26 brands of deodorant, shave cream, face wash, bath wash, lotion, shampoo, razors, vitamins, and hair removal products. In some cases, like shave cream, there were very few brands that made products for men and women.
At first glance, prices for the men’s version of a product were similar as those for women or even higher. But when you calculate the cost per unit, women’s products were priced higher 11 times, compared to four for men’s.
Products cost the same per unit 11 times.
At first, I thought it was because women were paying extra for the pretty packaging. But further inspection revealed very similar packaging that only differed in color – women’s in bright or pastel colors and men’s in dark. Take a look at the price for Dove’s face wash above. Women pay $1.92 per unit more than men. Why do you think that is?
The ingredient list for the products I compared were similar, but could it be that some ingredients were more expensive? Could be. But how do you explain the significant difference in prices for razors, shown below? Women pay $8.92 more for a Gillette Venus razor than if they bought a packet of 4 Gillette Custom Plus 3 razors. (For razors, I calculated the per unit cost based on the number of razors, not blades.) The hair removal category also proved that women pay more for similar items. In the vitamin category, women pay $0.07 more per Nature’s Made vitamins than men.
To stop paying more for similar products consider doing the following. Voice your opinion with your dollars! If a men’s product costs less, try it out and save money in the bathroom. Continue using coupons to bring down the price of products you like. Every Monday we share drugstore coupons, which make many products free. Before buying, whip out your calculator and compare unit prices (cost / ounces). Why do you think there is a difference in prices on similar products targeted to men and women?