Tourists’ Luxury Value and Sustainability Perceptions of South African Exotic Leather Products


  • Nadine Sonnenberg University of Pretoria
  • Marlien Labuschagne University of Pretoria
  • Helena De Klerk University of Pretoria



exotic leather, luxury value, shopping tourism, sustainability excellence


Travelling mostly involves expenditure on products beyond daily consumables (i.e. tourism shopping), but sometimes tourists visit a country with the specific intention of acquiring goods unique to that particular context, either for personal or commercial use. This type of “shopping tourism” contributes to the growth of luxury markets such as the exotic leather industry. In stimulating shopping tourism and promoting the local exotic leather industry, it is crucial to understand tourists’ underlying perceptions and sustainable values that influence their luxury shopping behaviour. Using animal skins to create fashion accessories involves several environmental concerns and remains controversial among American and Chinese consumers, who rank among the world’s top luxury goods spenders. This research, therefore, investigated American and Chinese shopping tourists’ luxury value perceptions, sustainability excellence perceptions, and purchase intent for South African exotic leather products. Data was derived from a purposive sample including both American and Chinese tourists, aged 25 years and older, who had either visited South Africa in the past or intended to visit the country soon. A structured online questionnaire consisting of scales adapted from prior empirical research was developed. The English version of the questionnaire was translated into Mandarin and Cantonese for Chinese tourists. Data analysis involved two structural equation models (one based on the American and another on the Chinese tourists’ responses) to test hierarchical relationships among variables. The results confirm that personal luxury value strongly influences sustainability excellence and the purchase intent of exotic leather products for both American and Chinese respondents. These findings highlight the potential of positioning South Africa as a luxury shopping tourism destination for exotic leather products, thus contributing toward economic growth and employment opportunities. However, environmental concerns must be addressed to conform to Eastern and Western tourists' sustainable luxury value perceptions.