Is Vegan Leather More Expensive Than Real Leather?

By Divya Kashyap. Updated: August 2022.
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The price of a leather product depends on the raw materials used, the manufacturing process, and the cost of labor. Using quality and scarce materials leads to a higher price. The products used in the manufacturing, technique, and craftsmanship also play a role in deciding the price. 

On the other hand, vegan leather is made from plastic or plant-derived products. The raw materials used, the process of manufacturing and distribution is a cheaper process compared to real leather. Manufacturers of real leather invest a lot more money, compared to vegan leather. 

Hence, the cost of vegan leather is cheaper compared to real leather. The cost of vegan leather depends on the quality. The best quality vegan leather handbags have a true cost of about $120-130. For real leather, the best quality handbags start with a true cost of $120 and go up to $250. 

Why Is Real Leather More Expensive Than Vegan Leather?

There are many factors that explain the difference in prices between real leather and vegan or faux leather. Real leather is derived from animal hides. The process of growing the animal, feeding it well, and the final extraction of raw material yields a low quantity. 

To deal with this raw material, the equipment used is specific. The treatment of the material requires chemicals. After curing and treating it, expertise is required to convert it to the final product. Hence, the quality of the leather, type of dye, and tanning process are important deciding factors in the cost.

When a customer buys real leather, the price is determined by the sum of all these costs. Additional costs are determined by the country of origin, its regulations, and wages. Hence, the cost of leather products such as sofas, jackets, and luggage can be around thousands of dollars.

How Much Does Vegan Leather Cost?

How Much Does Vegan Leather Cost
Courtesy of Ecosusi & Lulu’s

The prices of vegan leather vary on the basis of the material used. The cheapest type of vegan leather is faux leather. This is made from fabric such as cotton as the base material, with a plastic coating. Faux leather costs about $10-25 per yard. 

For partially biodegradable forms of leather such as pineapple, cactus, or mushroom leather, the costs vary. Compared to plastic leather, biodegradable types cost about $30-40 per yard.

Vegan leather goods vary greatly in pricing from luxury to affordable. Some of the cheaper options include Ecosusi vegan leather handbags and Lulu’s vegan leather shoes.  


There are many factors that decide the final cost of vegan or real leather products. In general, when the costs for making the product are high, the final cost is also high. The current cost of vegan leather is high but may decrease as mass production increases. 

The production of these types of leather also varies. As vegan leather is cheaper to produce, the low-quality forms are manufactured on a large basis. The manufacturing of high-quality vegan leather or real leather is comparatively less. 

Hence manufacturers put a higher price on real leather. Of the types of vegan leather, faux leather is the cheapest. Biodegradable, and sustainable forms of vegan leather cost higher than faux leather and lesser than real leather.

See also: Is Vegan Leather As Good As Real Leather?

Main image credit: Veerah Vegan Leather Loafers

Divya is a content crafter at Vegan Avenue. She is a long-term happy vegan who is also enthusiastic about slow, mindful living in the company of cats.