Originally created as a way to cover up foul body odors, many deodorants have evolved to include antiperspirant to minimize armpit sweating.
Deodorants are also typically categorized by men’s and women’s and have other features such as 24 hours of protection, pH level balancing, and more.
Deodorant prices range considerably and prices continue to rise, leading to questions from consumers.
Like with many other hygiene products, the price does not necessarily reflect the amount of product you’re getting or the quality.
As the deodorant industry evolves along with consumer demands, companies must keep up with the changing times, adapting to innovations and staying competitive with their growing number of competitors.
Why Is Deodorant So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
1. Global Inflation
Inflation affects nearly every product and service around the world.
As time passes, prices rise to accommodate the growing demand and subsequent supply around the globe.
A product that cost $.50 ten years ago may cost $5.00 today.
Like with all goods and services, deodorant companies must also raise their prices in order to keep up with the changing times.
The cost of things like raw ingredients, materials, and packaging increase and fluctuate as the years pass, forcing many large deodorant companies, like Unilever (which owns Dove) and Proctor and Gamble (which owns Secret), to charge more for their products.
Because these products are manufactured and distributed all over the world, they succumb to global supply and demand rates.
As the cost of shipping rises as well, the rate of many products, including hygiene products, also rises.
Prices also often reflect the state of the world, so they tend to fluctuate based on current world events.
Global conflicts, such as war and the recent pandemic, greatly affect the prices of goods and services, even in countries seemingly not directly affected.
When raw materials are sourced from various places and are required to produce a product, everyone is affected by turmoil in the production area.
As shipping companies fall behind in shipping services, these goods become more highly valued, driving up the costs of many products.
2. Cost Of Marketing
Many consumers fail to factor in the cost of marketing when it comes to the increased prices of their favorite products.
The advertising industry and world of marketing have greatly changed since the advent of online and digital ads.
This change has caused many products to increase in price to pay for the added expenditure of digital marketing.
Many deodorant brands attempt to market to younger audiences and do so by reaching out to social media influencers or paying top-dollar for ads on popular social media sites, like Instagram or YouTube.
Social media influencers often charge a hefty amount for their advertising services.
Unbeknownst to consumers, these charges are reflected in the cost of the product.
Even many “top-ten” or “best-of” product lists are actually paid for by the companies whose products are being promoted.
TV ads still cost a pretty penny, averaging $104,700 for a 30-second national commercial, with the price fluctuating based on the time slot, network, and popularity of the show the advertisement is shown during.
Popular timeslots, such as during the Superbowl, sell for over a million dollars.
Because most companies can’t afford TV marketing, they instead opt for social media marketing.
This type of marketing typically lets users bid for ad space on social media sites.
Bidding types are cost-per-click (CPC), where companies pay for every click on their ad; cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM), where they pay per every 1000 people who see their ad; cost-per-like (CPL), where they pay for every “like” on their post; and cost-per-action (CPA), where they pay every time someone completes a purchase.
3. Biodegradable Packing Costs More Than Plastic
As deodorant companies start to lean more toward environmentally friendly packaging like other hygiene product companies have begun to do, the cost of their packaging has actually risen.
Using biodegradable packaging costs more than plastic packaging for manufacturers.
According to Fast Company, “The deodorant industry, in particular, produces over 15 million pounds of plastic waste each year, so brands are reconsidering the way they wrap their products.”
As deodorant companies try to get away from the mass amount of plastic waste they produce, they’ve turned to alternatives, like paper board and aluminum.
This type of packaging produces less waste, as some of it is reusable, so consumers can buy the container one time and then refill it without the need to throw away the original container.
Plastic production is very cheap, so for companies to switch over to new packaging requires more leg work to find sustainable sources along with educating manufacturers on how to use this new type of packaging properly.
Natural deodorant brands are focused on marketing to their young clientele, as more environmentally conscious young people are refusing to buy one-time-use plastics and are willing to pay more for eco-friendly or reusable packaging.
4. Deodorant Will Always Be Needed
Forms of deodorant have been around for hundreds of years and will always be needed and desirable.
Though it’s not a necessary hygiene item, it helps people feel comfortable, clean, and presentable.
Deodorant companies know their products will always be in demand and therefore are not too concerned with their price point.
Mass-produced deodorant companies are finding themselves in competition with more local, artisanal deodorant companies these days as naturally derived ingredients and environmentally friendly packaging has gained much traction in the past decade.
Many young consumers are switching to natural deodorants as studies continue to come out about the danger of aluminum and other toxic metals in cosmetics and hygiene products.
The new demand for natural deodorants has caused traditional deodorant companies to adapt their products and inadvertently has caused their prices to rise.
New and improved products must undergo an expensive transition period where new ingredients must be sourced and new manufacturing processes must be learned.
5. Rising Cost In Ingredients
Similarly to the rising cost of eco-friendly packaging materials, the cost of using more natural ingredients also raises the overall cost of deodorant.
Preservatives and other synthetic ingredients cost very little to create in labs and use in the final product.
However, with the demand for natural deodorants increasing, companies are now having to source ingredients from new places.
Some of these places are scattered throughout the world, leading to increased shipping and labor costs.
Some natural deodorant companies try to source from local places in order to keep their costs down, but some are not as successful as they would like to be.
This makes the consumer responsible for paying the difference in cost, as independent deodorant companies still need to make a profit.
The cost of natural ingredients can be very expensive, depending on the ingredient.
Things like essential oils instead of synthetic, factory-made scents cost a lot in comparison and are much harder to source.
When you pay for natural deodorant, you’re paying the high cost of organic farming and cruelty-free testing.
However, these things matter to many consumers, who are willing to pay more for safe, quality deodorants.
Artificially crafted deodorant companies are not as able to get away with selling harmful deodorant products as they used to be.
6. Evolving Culture Of Hygiene
People care about how they present themselves, and typically, those who are clean and smell good are respected and valued more in society.
Deodorant companies know this and have taken full advantage of people’s insecurities.
In a world of capitalism where people care more about their appearance than ever before, deodorant is one of the first things they reach for.
Smelling good and being sweat-free gives the appearance of a calm and cool person, unaffected by the stresses of the outside world.
Deodorant companies contribute to the culture of appearances and are able to set their prices accordingly, feeding on some of our artificial values.
In the same way, they know people will always want or believe they need deodorant.
They also are well aware of the fact that their products make people feel good about themselves.
In fact, many deodorant companies also manufacture other hygiene products like shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and soaps in an attempt to sell a lifestyle.
For instance, Unilever, which manufactures Dove, also owns Axe body spray.
It’s not just deodorant they’re selling, but a whole way of presenting oneself.
To the average American, a good-smelling and sweat-free person is deemed healthy and successful.
Someone who looks neat gives the impression that they have it together and are a well-functioning, useful contributor to society.
Scents also help give people an identity and with the growing amount of deodorant scents available, consumers can personalize their smell.
7. Growing Knowledge Of Deodorant Awareness
Knowledge may seem like a good thing—and it is—but as more consumers educate themselves and learn more about products like deodorant, the more it thrusts competitors into pricing wars over their products.
Deodorant has been around for a long time, but not until recently did it become widely known that aluminum and other metals were harmful and linked to Alzheimer’s in humans.
As more studies come out and facts are revealed, consumers are thinking twice about the products they buy.
Growing awareness of consumerism has driven many companies, including deodorant companies, to up their game and stay competitive with other deodorant companies that are switching things up to keep their consumer base happy.
As the standards of deodorant have evolved and expectations have risen, so must the quality of the product, forcing many deodorant companies to pay top dollar for their raw materials, packaging, and marketing.
This, in turn, raises the cost of the product itself.
Also, many more deodorant companies—big and small—have introduced themselves to the market, widening the pool of choices for consumers.
For deodorant companies to stay afloat, they must try to make themselves stand out even more.
With added effort and costs on the part of the company come higher prices for the consumer.
8. COVID Recoup
Deodorant and other hygienic product companies are still trying to recoup their losses from COVID.
Because more people stayed home and were not socializing, they did not wear as much deodorant.
This led to an overstock of deodorant filling the shelves of drugstores, grocery stores, and other retail stores.
To get rid of their stock, many deodorant companies cut their —taking a hit on their profits.
As people are getting out of the house more now and some are returning to the workplace, deodorant companies have had to raise their prices in order to make up for their major pandemic-related losses.
In addition, a large part of their clientele still does work from home.
Therefore, they’re not seeing the same number of sales as they did before COVID, forcing them to raise their product costs to stay in business.
According to Market Research Future, “The production of new batches of antiperspirants and deodorants is becoming a challenging issue for global players.
The closure of production facilities due to the lockdown restriction, the limited availability of labor, disrupted raw material supply, and logistics issues are some of the other major concerns that are slowing down the growth of the global antiperspirants and deodorants market.”
All of these disruptions lead to higher retail costs down the line.
9. Company Investment In New Innovations
Because consumer awareness has changed dramatically regarding hygiene products like deodorant, deodorant companies are now having to invest more money in the future of their products.
Since the competition is so vast, each company is on a mission to learn and implement the latest and greatest innovations in deodorants.
Deodorant companies are now having to spend much more to meet the demands of their consumers, providing vegan, cruelty-free, alcohol-free, aluminum-free, skin-friendly, and other health-related benefits.
Conscious product development costs companies a lot of money on research, technology, and studies, but this is essential in ensuring they maintain a position of relevance against a growing economy.
All of these aspects take a good amount of upfront investment on the part of the company, which has to be made up for down the line by charging the consumer more than in the past.
Consumers are paying more for smart company practices, and the more consumers “vote with their dollars,” the more deodorant companies are encouraged to keep investing in innovations.
10. Designer Deodorants Drive Up The Market
Like with perfumes and colognes, there are also now designer deodorants that cost upwards of $25-$50 for a single container.
It’s not to say that these designer deodorant companies don’t have quality products, but what you’re essentially paying for is the name.
Designer brands market their deodorants as “extensions of [their] fragrance lines.”
Like hygiene companies that sell multiple products as part of a lifestyle, designer deodorants are selling their brand to consumers who value a seemingly rich, luxurious lifestyle.
These luxury brands include Hermes, Dior, Estee Lauder, Tom Ford, and many others.
Some consumers are drawn to these deodorants if they already wear a certain designer scent and wish to match it with their deodorant.
So, if you already use Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino cologne, you can also purchase the complimentary deodorant.
Sticking to consistent smells is more pleasant than mixing scents or having a cheaper deodorant smell interact with or overwhelm your expensive cologne scent.