Gender Pricing in Germany

2017

- Fact sheet on the research project -

Definition

  • Gender-based differentiation of prices (gender pricing) describes the practice of providers or suppliers to offer the same or very similar products or services at prices which are different for women and men.
  • Gender-specific product varieties of the same brand are considered to be comparable when they only differ in those properties (colour, product name, product description etc.) which are meant to appeal to a particular gender.

Gender pricing of products is not significant/very low

  • The vast majority of products, i.e. altogether 85 per cent, in sectors offering gender-specific product variants, as e.g. children's toys, clothes for adults and children and personal care products, do not have any comparable or similar gender-specific variations.
  • Of the 1,682 products which could be identified as similar in the survey only 3.7 per cent had different prices. In 2.3 per cent of those cases women pay higher prices for the female variant of the same product, in 1.4 per cent of those cases men pay higher prices for the male product variant. The average surcharge for women and men amounts to approximately 5.00 .

Services increasingly show gender-specific price differences

  • Services as hairdressing, dry cleaning, cosmetic facial treatments and tailoring usually address a specific gender.
  • The survey identified 381 similar services variations for a specific gender, 59 per cent of them revealing a price difference: 50 per cent were more expensive for women, and 9 per cent were more expensive for men.
  • The more obvious gender-based price differences refer to services offered by dry cleaners and hairdressers: 89 per cent of the hairdressers offer different rates for the same short haircuts for women and men, whereas women pay an average surplus amount of 12.50 . One third of the dry cleaners have different flat rates for men's shirts and women's blouses. The price difference in this case, too, is borne by women, who on average have to pay 1.80 more for the dry cleaning of blouses than men for shirts.

Evaluation of gender pricing from the point of view of non-discrimination law

  • The General Equal Treatment Act is applicable to the pricing of goods and services which are available to the public.
  • An infringement of the General Equal Treatment Act may exist in particular when prices for services differ on the basis of gender just to take more advantage of women's or men's acceptance to pay higher prices. Equally, it is not admissible to draw conclusions about the expected effort connected with a particular service (e.g. hairdressing) merely from an individual's gender. Finally, price differences for basically the same products which are offered in two gender-specific versions through gender marketing also need to be justified.