A toy company sells scooters for children, red for boys and pink for girls. Both feature the same three wheels, a foot brake and plastic handlebars. Each weighs around 5 pounds.
The only difference is its price. One was listed for 24.99 dollars, while the other was listed for 49.99 dollars.
The price gap isn’t an inconsistency. 800 products were compared by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. These were in female and male versions and were identical except for their packaging. The department found out there is a bump in the price for one sex. Items intended for females were priced 7% more.
The department’s commissioner said this is a form of discrimination.
Researchers from the department examined toys, children’s clothes, adult garments, home goods and personal care products sold in New York. The largest price difference was in hair care. On average, women were paying 48% more for shampoo, conditioner and hair gel. Razor containers came second and women were paying 11% more.
Across all the New York sample, products for women had higher price 42% of the time and 18% of the time for men. Increasing prices according to who is buying is not something new. Oftentimes, women are charged more by hairdressers. Sometimes, nightclubs have higher admission fees for men. New York City law already prohibited gender pricing since 1998. That doesn’t mean companies always adhere to the rules. Last year, there were 129 violations issued for gender pricings.
According to Economist Ian Ayres, from the report of 24 retailers in New York, the worst pricing inconsistency was at Club Monaco where women’s garments cost 28.9% more on average than men’s garments. Urban Outfitters had 24.6% difference and Levis with 24.3%.
According to him, companies may be taking advantage of the idea that women are willing to pay more than men. Women’s sweaters might be made with better fabrics than Men’s Sweaters. But that isn’t always the case. Most of the time, the only difference lies in the color. Ravi Dhar from Yale School of Management said that this might be due to how women’s products are perceived. The desire for tailored goods might have kept this distinction alive.