The Southern Africa shared vacation ownership industry boasts a mature market of R2b per annum totaling 230 resorts as of December 2008. Of these, 178 are located in South Africa, the remainder is spread between the following countries; Zimbabwe, Réunion, Mauritius, Namibia, and Swaziland. These resorts include some 10, 000 chalets and units within these resorts.
About 260,000 households hold the rights to shared vacation ownership interests, with an 85% occupancy rate of some 500,000 weeks, or the equivalent in points.
During the calendar year 2002, an estimated 32,000 timeshare weeks, or the equivalent in points, were sold for about R566 million. In 2003 this increased to an estimated R705 million, representing about 38,000 weeks or the equivalent in points. From 2005 to 2008 the shared vacation ownership industry has seen a steady increase in growth.
Shared Vacation Ownership Purchases
During the June 2002 to May 2003 study period, 61% of Southern Africa shared vacation ownership interests acquired by consumers were purchased from developers or other commercial sources. Another 26% were purchased from other consumers in the resale sector. The remaining 13% were gifts, inherited, or obtained in some other manner.
Consumers paid an average of R17, 600 per week of annual use, or the equivalent in points, for Southern Africa shared vacation ownership products purchased from developers and other commercial sources during the study period. This represents one of the lowest average fees paid for new shared vacation ownership products anywhere in the world, equivalent to about US$2,700 or €2,200. Relative to medium buyer incomes, shared vacation ownership interests are much more affordable than in such markets as the United States or Europe.
Shared vacation ownership resales average R13, 800 per week. Although lower than the average price for shared vacation ownership interests sold by developers, the difference between new and resale prices is less than in almost any other region of the world. Larger unit sizes, those with two and three bedrooms, are most common in Southern Africa, available to 53.8% and 35.1% respectively, of those who purchased during the study period.
Three bedroom units represent a higher proportion of newly sold inventory than in any other major world shared vacation ownership region. Right-to-use shared vacation ownership interests represent 54.0% of recent purchases from developers and other commercial sources. Another 29.1% are deeded or free-hold interests.
Shared vacation ownership interests sold as points accounted for 73% of purchases from developers in 2002. Recent purchasers are most likely to say they bought for the following resort area characteristics: attractions and entertainment (42.6%); ocean beaches (39.1%); mountains (33.9%); golf (25.8%); and gambling (19.1%).
Overall, recent buyers report that the certainty of quality accommodations and the credibility of the shared vacation ownership company are the most important purchase motivators. The possibility of future maintenance fee increases represents the single most widely cited purchase hesitation. Purchases of shared vacation ownership interests from developers and other commercial sources are most likely to take place at a resort (44.8%) or in the buyer’s home (27.0%).
The latter finding is noteworthy, because shared vacation purchases occurring in the homes of buyers are uncommon in most other areas of the world.
Word of mouth and print ads in magazines and newspapers are the two largest marketing channels, accounting for 26.1% and 18.6% of developer sales, respectively. The heavy use of these comparatively low-cost channels helps to hold down the cost of Southern Africa shared vacation ownership interests.
Information supplied by Ragatz Associates – resort Timesharing in Southern Africa 2004 Edition and research received from Southern Sun Lifestyle Resorts in conjunction with Deloitte (Survey done in 2008).