Women are paying nearly 50 per cent more than men to smell nice.
Some "women's" scents typically cost 48 per cent more per millilitre than the related men's products, despite a blindfold experiment that found virtually no difference in the way the sexes perceive a perfume.
So why would a dutiful husband buy his wife a Chanel women's perfume at $3.52 a millilitre, as calculated by the comparison website PriceMe, when he could get her some Chanel men's cologne for $2.04?
Or Givenchy, where the difference is $1.37 for women's perfume to 90c for the blokes' stuff; or Bvlgari, where, at $1.74 to 91c, the women's perfume is 91 per cent dearer.
Can women start purchasing fragrances for men and start saving? Absolutely
Chanel and the New Zealand distributor of the other brands declined to offer an answer.
"Chanel does not communicate on numbers or figures in this regard," said Pip Dickson, the fragrance and beauty communications executive for Chanel Australia and New Zealand.
However a perfume industry specialist said branding and women's identity needed to be taken into account.
"It would be wrong to just say that men's cologne is cheaper and therefore women should buy those, when most perfumes are particularly recognisable by regular users," said Garth Wyllie, executive director of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association.
"Many women readily identify with their preferred brand and its fragrance and we feel this equates to the value in the products. Market testing helps to ensure that particular fragrances are both branded and are distinctive for those users of the products."
In the experiment, at the psychology department at Stockholm University, 17 heterosexual students - nine women and eight men - were blindfolded and asked to sniff two perfumes on human skin. One was a "masculine" branded perfume and the other "feminine".
The feminine fragrance was the more popular overall but more or less equally so between men and women. There was virtually no difference between men and women when asked if they would like to use the fragrances themselves or have their partners use them.
The results indicated that "perfume preference is independent of gender", the researcher, Anna Lindqvist, wrote in the journal Procedia - Social and Behavioural Sciences.
PriceMe analysed prices for 12 brands in which men's and women's perfumes are available. Its data shows that on average the women's perfumes are 48 per cent more expensive a millilitre than the men's products. Bvlgari's differential was the largest.
With a wider range, the 50 most popular perfumes for women were, at $1.51 a millilitre, 31 per cent dearer than the 50 most popular among men.
PriceMe said factors behind this included a greater proportion of women's scents being in the eau de parfum category, which is about twice as concentrated as eau de toilette. Also, the more concentrated scents tended to be sold in smaller bottles.
"Women purchase more concentrated perfume in smaller bottles at a higher price than men. Men's fragrance is sold in larger bottles and often more diluted in eau de toilette.
"Can women start purchasing fragrances for men and start saving? Absolutely. An annual spend of $200 could save about $62 per year, and a lot of people wouldn't notice a difference."