CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s like a tax on women. Women pay more than men for the same items because they’re pink. In a recent report by CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker, price differences for women’s products can go as high as ten to $20. She uncovered a difference that was hidden in plain sight, a pink tax.
Women may like pink, but they’re tired of paying more for the color and for products that are marketed to women. Shopper Elise Ziemann said she will buy men’s socks because they cost less.
“You can get cheaper socks if you go buy men’s socks than buying women’s socks. Razors, some of theirs are lower prices,” Ziemann said.
A recent study by the New York City Department of consumer affairs found that toys and accessories for girls cost seven percent more than boys, girls clothing four percent more, women’s clothing eight percent more, and personal care products 13 percent more.
“I think it’s very unfair. I think it should be the same,” said shopper Paula Sledge.
On the day CBS 2 went shopping we found similar differences. At Target, ankle socks for women cost $3 more than the men’s version. At the Gap girls pink jeans cost $5 more than denim and black in the same style. A pink baby walker/rocker online was $10 more than the non-pink version, and a pink trike cost $26 more than the red.
Tenenbaum Hardware & Paint employee Steve Lipshutz said his store doesn’t cost more to mix one color from another, but thinks that the tricycles should cost the same.
“It doesn’t cost the manufacturer any more to make a pink bicycle,” said Lipshutz
Loyola University Professor Katherine Sredl, PhD said retailers do this, simply put, because until recently they’ve been able to get away with it. But she thinks the tide is changing because millennials, like those in her marketing class, are beginning to rebel.
During her class, half of the class said they would buy a men’s product because it’s cheaper.
Others agree that the price difference is unfair to women. “They market to us in pink and then they sell it to us for more. Welcome to gender pricing,” said Melinda Bush, State Sen. 31st District.
Sen. Bush helped eliminate the tax on tampons, and her next goal is to end the pink tax. Until then, she said go look at what they’re selling to men. Make sure that it’s not any different and if it isn’t, buy that product.
After our inquiry, Target changed the online price of the pink tricycle to match the blue one. As for the socks, Target said the women’s price was most likely a store error.
Walmart insists it doesn’t base price on gender, rather on competitors prices for similar items. In a provided statement, Walmart said, “We have no overall strategy to price items differently based upon gender. There may be instances when the same item has different prices based on color, and that’s typically due to matching competitive prices. When one of our suppliers provides a lower cost for a particular color, we pass those savings on to our customers.”
In a statement, The Gap said: “Our prices are determined by fabric, construction and the novelty treatment of the style. This is standard across all of our categories including men’s and women’s.
“This pink style is priced higher because it has destruction details on the garment, which are not included on the dark styles.”