Consumer Reports Slams “Packaging For Women”

iStock_000006139533SmallThe most recent issue of Consumer Reports laments the continuing trend of gender price discrimination, with a comparison of several common drugstore items.

Barbasol Shaving Cream

Soothing Aloe for men – $1.69 for 11 ounces.
Pure Silk for women – $2.49 for 9 ounces.

According to the company, women are paying more for fragrance, a taller, thinner can, and an aluminum bottom that won’t rust in the shower – all for a hefty difference of 11 cents per ounce.

Excedrin Pain Reliever

Extra Strength – $5.99 for 20 pills.
Menstrual Complete – $6.49 for 20 pills.

Each contains the exact same ingredients.

Schick Quattro Razor Blades

Quattro 4-pack – $10.49
Quattro 4-pack for women – $10.99

According to the magazine (and Schick agrees!) the blades are virtually identical (except, perhaps, in terms of color).

Allan Gorman, owner of the BrandSpa agency, says it best:

You’re paying for the perceived value of the package.  Can you really tell the difference? Most of us can’t.”

Today’s economy is forcing more and more women to seek out the highest value at the lowest price.  Because of articles like this, an increasing number of women are becoming more aware of the fact that gender discrimination continues – in this case, through the pocketbook.

I recently changed dry cleaners when I found one that charges the same price per piece, no matter whether the suit belongs to my husband or me.

I have decided to find a new hair stylist, because she’s been charging my husband 25 percent less for a hair trim, even though his cut takes at least 20 minutes longer than mine.

What kind of prices are you charging?

Do you provide a similar service for each gender, but have different pricing structures?

You may have what you believe to be sound reasons for charging women more.  But if you can’t find a new business methodology for spreading the costs across both genders, you have only yourself to blame for an eroding female customer base.

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8 Responses to “Consumer Reports Slams “Packaging For Women””

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  1. Kat Gordon says:

    Word! I live in California where, over 10 years ago, a law was passed making gender pricing illegal for dry cleaners and hair cutting. Yet its lack of enforcement is crazy-making. I caused a huge scene in my local dry cleaners when they tried to charge me double for a blouse. Oddly enough, men’s shirts are larger and therefore take longer to press. Good for you, Michele, to vote with your feet.

  2. Is it a black & white issue? Yes, for the haircut and dry cleaners. I’m not sure about the packaging issues.

    Is packaging a large part of the manufacturing cost of an item? If a manufacturer has to pay more for packaging that appeals to women, who pays? Are there times that women will pay more for a prettier package?

    There are times when I’ve paid way too high a price for a pretty package – usually with two legs. :)

  3. Tom Wanek says:

    Ha! This post started a pretty good debate between my wife and I.

    Years ago, I observed, while shopping for her birthday and Christmas gifts, that women’s clothing cost less than a comparable item in the men’s department. I’m not so sure that’s true today. But I’ll pay more attention now, that’s for sure!

  4. Mary Schmidt says:

    I’ve long bought men’s shirts (instead of the women’s shirt jackets) – better price and better selection in colors and styles (really.)

    And, then there was the New Orleans Jazzfest where the pink gimme hats were $5 more than the black or brown ones. Same hat, except pink (which I hate anyway, but grrrr…)

    And, no packaging probably doesn’t cost anymore – and I also don’t think I should pay for a company to try to get me to buy the exact same product in a pretty, pink package.

  5. Notice that in Allan Gorman’s statement it the “perceived” value of the package you are paying for. I believe everything is sold or not sold based on perception.

    I do find it ironic that the same gender discrimination that charges women MORE for products also pays us LESS in the general workforce. Interesting…


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