Men's products are usually cheaper than the women's version, study finds


Products for women and girls – from toys to clothing to toiletries – often cost more than the men's version of the same product.

That's according to a study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, which looked at almost 800 products with "clear male and female versions." It included items from more than 90 brands, at 24 different retailers in New York City (both online and in-store).

One of those retailers? Target.

The full report (click here to read it) compares a bunch of items the Minneapolis-based Bullseye sells, including button-up shirts, jeans, socks, underwear, supports and braces for adults – and for kids, backpacks, kids bikes, a dump truck toy, Fisher Price sets and more.

It specifically pulls out two Target items though:

A scooter – the red boys one was listed at $24.99, while the pink girls one was $49.99, despite being nearly the exact same item other than color:

And these very similar, but differently priced, kids bike helmets:

Target, in a statement sent to BringMeTheNews (and other outlets), said the scooter example was a "system error" – when a product gets dropped in price, similar products should reflect that lower cost. The scooter error has been corrected, Target says.

Meanwhile, other items with a difference in price could be attributed to production costs or other factors.

"Target is dedicated to offering exceptional prices on items throughout our stores. Our competitive shop process ensures that we are competitively priced in local markets," Target said.

Bigger findings

On average, across all categories, women's products cost about 7 percent more than similar men's products, the Consumer Affairs study found.

Broken down by category, women's and girls products cost:

  • 7 percent more for toys and accessories
  • 4 percent more for children’s clothing
  • 8 percent more for adult clothing
  • 13 percent more for personal care products
  • 8 percent more for senior/home health care products

Across all 397 sets of products looked at, women paid more than men 42 percent of the time. The price was equal for 40 percent of the products, and men paid more the remaining 18 percent.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission even tweeted about the "gender gap" in the price of products.

The study, the New York Consumer Affairs department says, suggests "women are paying thousands of dollars more over the course of their lives to purchase similar products as men."

And while there may be some "legitimate" reasons for the price differences, people can't avoid the discrepancy because individual buyers have no control over ingredients or textiles used – and simply have to buy what's available in the market place.

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