- Rick Kern/Getty Images for Inc
- E-commerce site Boxed doesn’t charge extra for products specifically marketed to women, eschewing the discriminatory pricing trend known as the “the pink tax.”
- Boxed also offers customers a rebate to cancel out the value-added tax on feminine hygiene products.
- Speaking at this year’s Groceryshop conference in Las Vegas, CEO Chieh Huang said that banning the pink tax is “truly core” to his company’s identity.
- “We save our customers over $1 million to date,” Huang said.
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LAS VEGAS – Pop quiz time: Two comparable products sit before you. One’s pink, with daisies and smiling women on the packaging. One’s not. If you had to guess, which one is more expensive?
If you guessed the flowery one, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the “pink tax.” Basically, this refers to the idea that products marketed toward women are more expensive than comparable items marketed to men. A 2015 study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found “on average, that women pay approximately 7 percent more than men for similar products.”
A separate but related phenomenon is the “tampon tax,” wherein essential hygiene products like tampons undergo a value-added tax, unlike other basic necessities like groceries and prescriptions.
As Boxed CEO Chieh Huang said at the second annual Groceryshop conference in Las Vegas on Monday, 32 states in the United States continue to tax tampons as if they’re a “a luxury good.”
Huang spoke about barring the pink tax on his website, which specializes in bulk orders. The New York-based company’s e-commerce format and focus on bulk products have prompted comparisons with Amazon and Costco.
In 2016, Boxed established a rebate on feminine hygiene products, to help offset the tax. The company also ensured that products like deodorant and razors that are marketed to women match such products targeting men. That all comes out of the company’s bottom line, but Huang said that it’s a reflection of Boxed’s values.
And the savings have added up over time.
“We save our customers over $1 million to date,” Huang said. “It’s truly core to who were are.”