Which Countries Produce The Most Stock Images?

Posted on 11/16/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

A lot of the images being uploaded to major websites these days have little relevance to what the market needs. I decided to do searches on Shutterstock for country names to try to get some idea of the number of images from each location relative to what the likely demand is for such images.

Of course, many of the pictures taken by photographers in each of these countries don’t require a country name as a keyword including food shots and many generic people shots. Consequently, in no way are the figures an indication of all the images produced by photographers in any of these countries. Nevertheless, the data may have some relevance and provide some insights.

The first thing to notice is that there over 65 million of the 297 million Shutterstock images are listed as coming from one of the countries on my list. Only a little over 2 million of those have the keywords “United States” or “USA.” And yet, the U.S. market probably generates 30% of global stock photo revenue. If we include Canada and Mexico the total for North America is a little over 4 million images and yet over one-third of the total worldwide market is in North America.

The country most out of sync with demand is probably Thailand with over 7 million images with that keyword. I can’t imagine there is much relative demand for Thai images, no matter how great they are. About 41% of all the country identified images in the Shutterstock collection come from Asian countries and yet information from other sources indicate that no more than 12% to maybe 15% of global stock photo revenue comes from Asia. It appears that many photographers in these countries may be producing great images for which there is very little demand.

It is also interesting to compare the number of images from Western and Eastern Europe. Western Europe has about twice as many images as Eastern Europe, but I have to believe that these is a much higher demand for images from Western Europe (probably much more than 2 times the demand) that for those of Eastern Europe.

A very small percentages of the images come from South America and the Middle East – roughly 4% of the total from each area. This is probably reflective of the relative demand for each of these areas.

Currently about 22% of the images in the Shutterstock collection have a country listed as a keyword. Shutterstock is on track to have about 187 million downloads this year. If images with a country identifier are used as frequently as all other images in the collection (which I doubt), then there would be a little over 41 million uses of these 65 million images. Of course the few that are used get used many times so the vast majority of the images from most countries will never be used by anyone.

See the following list of images in the Shutterstock collection with each country search.

United States & USA 2,011,523
Canada 1,137,889
Mexico 912,288
Thailand 7,166,556
China 6,017,768
Japan 3,805,040
India 2,393,024
Korea 1,341,246
Indonesia 1,313,125
Malaysia 1,242,377
Australia 1,156,420
Vietnam 791,948
Taiwan 438,725
New Zealand 437,261
Singapore 402,506
Hong Kong 398,192
Cambodia 297,631
Philippines 285,459
Nepal 274,036
Western Europe  
Italy 4,061,723
Spain 2,417,921
France 2,155,177
Germany 1,896,054
UK 1,633,885
Greece 1,287,173
Portugal 820,601
Netherlands 810,483
Austria 598,743
Norway 575,015
Scotland 468,229
Ireland 465,448
Sweden 417,855
Finland 326,902
Belgium 324,213
Denmark 218,570
Malta 137,261
Luxembourg 53,503
Eastern Europe & Russia  
Russia 3,267,249
Ukraine 1,438,488
Poland 904,063
Croatia 501,177
Czech Republic 494,266
Romania 435,954
Hungary 330,804
Latvia 315,107
Belarus 311,496
Bulgaria 301,685
Slovakia 248,845
Serbia 228,943
Cyprus 182,478
Slovenia 176,000
Lithuania 168,542
Estonia 131,283
Moldova 50,537
South America  
Brazil 898,931
Peru 383,581
Chile 298,026
Argentina 297,914
Ecuador 184,629
Colombia 167,254
Bolivia 129,025
Venezuela 76,236
Uruguay 58,025
Paraguay 40,689
Guyana 21,789
Suriname 21,777
Middle East  
Israel 562,086
Egypt 491,380
Arab Emirates 268,806
Pakistan 256,601
Jordan 198,649
Iran 158,508
Saudi Arabia 138,508
Turkey country 131,604
Qatar 97,062
Palestine 77,652
Syria 74,057
Baharin 72,919
Ethiopia 68,178
Iraq 62,843
Lebanon 59,805
Afghanistan 48,734
Kuwait 45,991
Sudan 44,810
Yemen 41,943
Kurdistan 8,755
Lydia 4,616

Copyright © 2019 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


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff