Different genders can sometimes be charged different prices or offered varying incentives to purchase the very same products and services. While any sort of gender discrimination will understandably be frowned upon, whether shoppers are male or female can at times be an impactful segmentation factor, and a legitimate criterion for retailer incentive personalization.
Does it cost more to be a woman?
It can sometimes feel that way. Samplings conducted by Business Insider magazine in the U.S. in 2016 revealed that shampoo and conditioner products for women, for example, were priced 48% higher than those for men. Razors, blades and lotions were also found to cost women 11% more, as were deodorants (at 3% more), body wash (6%), dress shirts (13%) and jeans (10%).
A BBC article from 2016 presented similar findings in the UK, referencing an investigation by
The Times that demonstrated how prices for women’s and girls’ clothes, beauty products and toys could be higher than those of corresponding items for men and boys.
However, examples of the opposite can also readily be found. For example, it’s a well-known fact that men are charged more than women – sometimes much more – for insurance and car leases. Surveys have also revealed that cosmetics and toiletry products designed specifically for men, such as moisturizers and other skin care products, can sometimes be priced higher than those marketed to women.
Are male and female shoppers really one and the same?
While it’s easy to wag a finger at what may at first glance seem like gender-based price discrimination, in fact, what is really at play here is gender being one of numerous criteria
(such as age and spending habits) used to segment consumers as a means of personalizing and precisely targeting promotions. After all, key differences in the perceptions and patterns of male and female shoppers do exist, making gender a potentially crucial factor for retailers.
Let’s take a closer look as some of these differences. Research establishes that men tend to be mission-driven, with a strong preference for quick and easy shopping, whereas women more often exhibit emotional “joy of the hunt”. And while men tend to be task- and utilitarianism-oriented shoppers, women are typically discovery-oriented, demonstrate flexibility in adjusting their goals along the way, and strive to gain pleasure from their shopping experience.
There are more dissimilarities yet. Women tend to distrust online shopping, whereas men demonstrate relatively higher inclination to perform purchases via mobile devices, for example. Furthermore, the Netherlands’ Erasmus University has found men to typically be loyal to particular brands (pending good experience, of course), as opposed to women, who base their long-term faith on good service.
Differences between genders in online shopping are studied even more painstakingly by information analytics provided Elsevier in an article titled “On gender differences in consumer behavior for online financial transaction of cosmetics”, which explores whether or not such differences exist with regards to perception, sense of importance and satisfaction in online cosmetics shopping. Among the research results published in the article is the determination of statistically significant differences between men and women in the time spent on cosmetics,
the amount of money spent on cosmetics monthly, and satisfaction with time spent purchasing cosmetics online, to name a few – with women “outgunning” men in each of these.
To sum up, gender is often a critical criterion that can legitimately be employed by retailers –
as part of their overall marketing strategy – to properly segment shoppers, precisely target personalized incentives and promotions, and most effectively and profitably engage both their male and female customers. Be sure to check out additional blog posts on differences in the ways men and women shop and are approached by retailers.