Global Stock Photography Growth Potential

Posted on 6/2/2020 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

One thing that has bugged me lately is the host of ads I receive almost daily offering detailed reports of “Global Stock Photography Market Potential Growth” for the next 5 years. I haven’t paid for or read any of these reports, but I am pretty sure they are all scans. I hope no one is throwing their money away on these reports, or worst yet, believing them.

The creators of these reports ask unsuspecting interested parties for fees ranging from $3,400 to $3,960 to read their fanciful industry growth predictions.

In my opinion the market has not been growing dollar wise for several years. There may have been growth in the number of images and videos licensed, but prices have dropped faster than usage growth with the net result of flat to declining revenue. If you look at Shutterstock’s download growth anyone can see that there has been very little growth. Shutterstock licenses more uses by far than any other company in the industry. A more depressing picture is Shutterstocks ten year history of growth can be found here.

In February 2016 I published an article about Technavio that predicted that the global still image market would reach $4 billion by 2020. Obviously, that didn’t com close to happening.
In May 2018  Technavio predicted “a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) for the industry of approximately 8% during the period 2018-2022.” I challenged their figures based on my analysis at the time, but was unwilling to pay to read the details of their report.

A month later a professional market research analysis from one of the big 4 accounting/consulting firms in New York pointed out to me that Technavio was based in Pure, India and one of more than 20 “market research” firms in that city that annually mass produce low quality reports on all types of industries. These reports are aimed at small businesses hoping to get quality research at a lower price.

The distributors of these reports often use mailing and contact addresses in the U.S., London or Germany making it appear to come from a reputable organization.

One way to spot some of these poorly researched reports is that they sometimes offer a list of some of the “top companies” whose businesses they have – in theory - analyzed. recently put out a forecast for the Global Stock Photography Market between 2020 and 2026

They suggested in the promotion that the top companies in the industry are: Masterfile, ImageSource, OJOimages, Cultura, Loopimages, Alamy, SuperStock, blendimages, RubberBall, Photononstop, ageFotostock, Johner, Topic, Datacraft, asiaimagesgroup, Eastphoto, Visual China.

They failed to mention Getty Images, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock and iStock who are certainly the 4 largest players in the industry and collectively represent about $1.75 billion of the roughly $2.6 to $2.8 billion gross revenue of the industry.

Marketresearchplace doesn’t seem to have figured out that Masterfile filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and management of the collection was recently taken over by Design Pics. Blendimages no longer exists and its collection was absorbed by Tetra in 2018. Many of the other listed are small players who are, at least, still operating.

Some of the promotions to avoid are: monroescoop who wants $3,960 for their report; who wants $3,500 and who offers the lowest price at $3,480.

Another story that recently appeared in the Digital Journal says that the stock image market was $1.155 billion in 2017 and the headline says Arizton expects it to reach $4.2 billion by 2024. This is such a huge growth that any reasonable person would have to think there is something with the figures. I don’t know where Arizton got their numbers, but I suspect it was someone in Pure, India. Even, if Covid 19 had never happened this level of growth would seem impossible. Taking the economic decline that is sure to occur in the next few years and all the other factors related to stock photography it seems much more likely that total worldwide revenue will decline by 2024 rather than grow.

There may be a lot of growth in the creation of still images and video, but most of it is for personal use and the creators own entertainment. It is not the kind of imagery that commercial users will pay anything to use.  The stock photography market is about pictures that other will pay money to use. No one is going to be willing to pay to view a huge percentage of the imagery that is being created.

I recently watched a video of squirrels battling a bird feeder obstacle course. The creator spent a year building the course and shooting video segments. It is great fun to watch, but no one will is likely to pay money to watch it.

Copyright © 2020 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


  • Tibor Bognar Posted Jun 6, 2020
    A growth opportunity! Instead of creating images that won't sell, publish market research for naive newcomers with steep prices...

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