• A gap in the pairing of ‘tourism and shopping’ concerning International Residential Tourists (IRT). • Studies on tourist shopping motivations are descriptive, not discussing background variables. • A SEM of the influence of socio-demographics and acculturation on IRT shopping motivations is tested. • Nationality has a decisive role when defining the sense and intensity of structural relationships. • The paper extends the knowledge of tourist shopping behaviour to an international residential tourist contexts.