Think Before You Pink

Hi! I’m Lauren Stafford, and this is Capstrat’s The Week That Was.

What if I told you that this razor costs $12, but because you are part of half the population that’s subject to the Pink Tax, you had to pay $15 for it?

The Pink Tax refers to the extra amount women are charged for goods and services. Things like dry cleaning, personal care products and even car maintenance.

Take shampoos. A recent study found that haircare products for women cost on average 48% more than similar products for men.

Even toys marketed to little girls are 11% pricier than those for boys.

The study compared the prices of nearly 800 products and found that, overall, women are paying 7% more for their products than those for men, even in instances where a well-known marketing strategy “pink it and shrink it” was employed. Manufacturers take an every-day product, wrap it in a Pepto-Bismol pink shade and make it smaller for women to use.

So what does that mean for marketers, our clients or ­really just for all of us as consumers?

Well, it seems that there is an inherent belief that women can be, and should be, upsold. That men are smart enough to know the true value of a dollar. But as long as you wrap your product in something pink and sparkly, a woman’s common sense goes out the window just as she whips out her credit card.

The good news is that women (and men!) are taking notice, and they are calling out companies and pressuring brands and retailers to fix the pricing. They’re doing so by posting on social media with hashtags like #genderpricing and #gendertax.

But we still have a long way to go. In a world of unconscious bias, we have to remember that while it’s good to be informed about our target demographic – young, old, African-American Asian, woman, man – ultimately we have to treat everyone as human. Because today’s consumers are well-informed, or can be with just a few clicks, it doesn’t take much for them to know when they’re being taken advantage of.

I’m Lauren Stafford, and this has been Capstrat’s The Week That Was.