Ask Andy: Price differences

By Andy Wise - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A gender war is brewing at some retail stores where the price for women's products is often higher than the price for men's products.

Travis and Amber Feltner were ready to shop and bought a slew of products with comparable men's and women's versions.  It turned out there were some price differences.

"It didn't surprise me," Travis Feltner said.  "Some of the women's stuff was smaller and prettier than the men's products."

One of the price differences was in Schick razors.

"You got the same amount of razors, an eight pack, but mine was almost four dollars more than his," Amber Feltner said.

The Schick Quattro for women eight pack of razor heads sold for $19.69.  The men's version sold for $17.99.  Both razors were at regular price.

There was also another price difference between men's and women's Degree deodorant.  The women's version at 2.6 ounces sold for $3.99, the men's version at 2.7 ounces sold for $2.59.

"She got the smaller bottle than I did," Travis Feltner said, "and she paid more than I did."

"I think it just catches the woman's eye more," said Amber Feltner.  "It's a little more attractive.  It's called Sexy Intrigue, and it was a dollar more than his was."

There were also products where the men's version sold for more.

Dove Men's Extra Fresh Soap sold for $3.19 while Dove Burst Soap sold for $2.99.

Overall, the test shoppers paid more for women's products than men's.  Amber spent $45.72 while Travis only spent $41.14 for the men's version of the same products.

Economist Janet Harrah said in the end, it is business.

"We've just gotten into the habit of going for the one that is packaged for women and not really noticing the difference in price," Harrah said.

The manufacturers were contacted to explain the price differences.  Unilever said the suggested retail price for Degree deodorant is $3.99 for both men's and women's.  That's what Amber Feltner paid for the women's version, but the men's version was lower.

The same company makes Dove soap and said any price difference is due to "retail store variations," meaning stores determine the ultimate price.

Unilever denied any suggested retail price differences based on gender.

"Most women don't look at the men's aisle to compare the price of deodorant to the women's deodorant," Harrah said.  "What they compare is P&G's deodorant to Kimberly Clark's deodorant for women."

Smart shopping may sometimes mean crossing over from the women's aisle to the men's.

"Maybe coupon a little bit better," Amber Feltner said, "and maybe use something that is not directly made for a woman."

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