Which Countries Do Shutterstock's Pictures Come From?

Posted on 6/10/2019 by Robert Kneschke | Printable Version | Comments (0)

A few weeks ago, the publicly traded image agency Shutterstock had released its second-quarter 2018 business figures.

Among those figures, there was also the remarkable 204.2 million images Shutterstock currently offers. 41% of these were added in the last year alone.

On my Facebook page there was a lively discussion afterwards, regarding exactly where  these many millions of pictures come from.

There are some unofficial (and often unfortunately only short-lived) websites such as microstock.club or M-Rank, which read out a lot of portfolio data from Shutterstock. Another such website which is now defunk was microstock.top.

I analyzed the data (as of August 11, 2018) to determine which countries have the largest number of portfolios and the total number of images in these collections. Here is the result:

  Number of Total Images
  Portfolios in Portfolios
1. Russian Federation 2,117 16,130,814
2. Ukraine 1,843 16,038,288
3. Thailand 2,551 13,159,110
4. United States 805 6,356,750
5. Poland 347 3,016,993
6. United Kingdom 344 2,801,905
7. Germany 458 2,767,168
8. Belarus 348 2,707,467
9. Spain 302 2,581,656
10. Italy 360 2,299,261
11. Andorra 168 2,212,945
12. Romania 205 2,130,330
13. Czech Republic 257 1,706,167
14. Canada 193 1,486,789
15. Japan 199 1,388,036
16. Serbia 225 1,381,814
17. Latvia 114 1,347,495
18. Turkey 131 1,345,765
19. Indonesia 169 1,260,572
20. France 132 1,068,509
Total 11,268 83,187,834

Of the 200 million images, about 140 million images are captured on the aforementioned website. Of these, 4130 portfolios with a total of approximately 39 million images unfortunately do not name a country of origin. In the table above, then, about 101 million images are recorded, after all about half of the entire Shutterstock collection.
Clearly, by far Russia and Ukraine dominate Shutterstock's collection.

In my graph above, I put the portfolios in proportion to the population (divided by 25 because of better readability) to see which countries provide more or less images in proportion to popultion.

As a result, it is mainly active in Ukraine, Belarus, Andorra, Czech Republic, Serbia and Lithuania that are disproportionately active as Shutterstock suppliers.

Underrepresented in relation to population are, for example, China and India, the two most populous countries in the world, as well as Brazil or Pakistan.

If we only look at the average size of each country's portfolios, sorting looks a little different and Pakistan is far up this time:

  Number of
Total Images
Average Images
In Portfolios
In Portfolios
1. Pakistan 22 365,565 16,617
2. Bosnia and Herz. 26 410,111 15,774
3. Andorra 168 2,212,945 13,172
4. Latvia 114 1,347,495 11,820
5. Estonia 68 798,485 11,742
6. Azerbaijan 78 871,916 11,178
7. Hong Kong 31 340,685 10,990
8. Kazakhstan 66 710,504 10,765
9. Romania 205 2,130,330 10,392
10. Portugal 56 575,848 10,283
11. Turkey 131 1,345,765 10,273
12. Korea 37 355,758 9,615
13. No country of origin 4,130 39,186,418 9,497
14. India 100 877,551 8,776
15. Ukraine 1,843 16,038,288 8,702
16. Poland 347 3,016,993 8,695
17. Spain 302 2,581,656 8,549
18. Belgium 35 289,038 8,258
19. United Kingdom 344 2,801,905 8,145
20. France 132 1,068,509 8,095
I only counted countries that had 20 or more portfolios so as not to distort the values by individual outliers.

Germany is no longer in the table, the "average" German portfolio at Shutterstock contains 6042 images.

When I look at which countries the most new portfolios have been added in 2017, little changes in the first ranking. From Thailand came 80 new portfolios, from Russia 55, 42 from Ukraine, 24 from Indonesia and 22 from the USA and 17 Australia.

To see the year when each of the portfolios was launched check out this chart.

On the other hand, it is striking that there was a significant increase in new portfolios in 2015 – 2016. However, I would be skeptical about the low value in 2017 and would be concerned with the unofficial way of collecting data.

For more background check out this January 2018 Selling Stock story that relies mostly on 2017 data.

When I look at the countries where the most active uploaders sit, the result is logically very similar to the overall portfolio, only Andorra, Canada and the UK are significantly higher than their position.

Why Andorra does so well on many points, I don't know, but I suspect that company headquarters there could have tax benefits.

All in all, it seems that by far the most microstock images come from the east of Europe.

Copyright © 2019 Robert Kneschke. 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


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