Men Make More When Selling on eBay


A few months ago we wrote about the gender differences when pricing products. On average, women’s products were 7% higher than similar products for men. And, in nearly all categories, women’s products cost more 42% of the time, while men’s products cost more only 18% of the time. For example, a red scooter (for boys) usually sells for less than does a pink scooter (for girls). This is sometimes called a “gender tax” and represents a real financial model when marketing to males vs. females. It turns out that there is a gender difference when selling products as well, particularly on eBay.

On average, a recent research report based on an analysis of more than 1 million eBay transactions shows that women make 20% less than men when selling the exact same new product on eBay. As an example, a seller listed as James_Smith might get $300 for a new phone, but Jenny_Smith would get only $240, even when the listings were identical. In addition, for every 100 bids a male receives on an item, a female will receive only 89 bids. (The difference between genders was less on used products. On average, females received only 2.9% less than did males.)

The researchers proposed that these price differences might be caused by both genders assigning a lower value to products sold by women than those sold by men.

What do you think?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Do they believe there is a gender difference when selling items?
  2. Review the research report in Science Magazine:
  3. Give students a weekend assignment. Divide them into teams of males and females.
  4. Have each team attempt to sell similar new products, but use different male-based and female-based names. Compare results.
  5. Here is the report from New York on gender pricing differences:

Source: Science Magazine, Los Angeles Times

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