A recent study has suggested that supermarkets are charging men and women very different prices for comparable products.
I’ve never been a massive fan of pink. I’ve always felt that I look like a piglet when I wear it, and I get annoyed when it’s illogically applied to things. Take pink camouflage – surely the fact that it’s pink completely defeats its purpose of blending in, unless you’re in a field of roses?
But I never realised my aversion to the colour could be a benefit to me.
It’s research found that with own-brand toiletries, including disposable razors, shaving cream and antiperspirant, women pay, on average, 31% more if it’s been gendered (such as being styled pink for women or blue for men). And at Morrisons, it’s up to 56% more – that’s a lot more to shell out for, say, a razor just because it’s pink.
The study also found that when purchasing comparable own-branded clothing, women pay, on average, 12% more. The exceptions noted by Fawcett were that men’s formal black trousers and plain white T-shirts are, on average, more expensive than comparable female products.
According to this research, gender-neutral items, offered by one supermarket, were placed alongside products targeted at men. If this were the case then this would make me assume on first glance the products are targeted toward men.
Even if I were sceptical during my shop, it’s hard enough figuring out the best deals in a supermarket without having to scan the shelves to find a cheaper, gender-neutral product that seemingly does exactly the same job as a gendered one.
Why pay more?
I can see an argument for products being more expensive if labour or materials needed to make them were more costly for the company. For instance, if a razor had six blades instead of two with a fancy design instead of a single colour. But surely it would need to be significantly different to justify the mark-up?
As it is, I get annoyed when I have to pay more based on need, such as when I’m all out of shampoo on a Sunday night and have to buy it from my local (more expensive) convenience store as it’s the only shop that’s open. I get it. But I really don’t want these extra costs to be my norm.
I don’t want to pay for stereotyping. I don’t want to pay more for my products and I don’t want my male family and friends to have to cough up more for theirs either.
Have you spotted any price differences in supermarkets? Do you feel like you’ve paid more for a comparable product because it’s been targeted at your gender?