Alamy Trends Since 2008

Posted on 11/2/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Alamy had a very good year in 2016 with total turnover up 31% to 19,185,668 £ compared to 14,627,376 £ in 2015. However, much of that percentage growth was due to strong sales in the U.S. and a declining exchange rate in the pound compared to other currencies. Based on the U.S. dollar rate at the end of each year the total turnover 2016 was $23,675,114 compared to $21,569,529 for 2015.
    Correction: James Allsworth of Alamy has pointed out that taking year end figures and converting the annual turnover to dollars as I have done is not a fair assessment of value. Exchange rates vary throughout the year and in the UK’s case the value of the pound declined significantly during 2016. (In January 2016 the pound was worth $1.50, and in December $1.23. The average of these two numbers is $1.365. Multiply this by the pounds and the dollar equivalent would have been about $26,188,437 not the $23,675,114 I reported above.)

    Divide the gross turnover by an average of $45 per download and the number of downloads would have been 581,965, not the number I estimate further down in the story.

    The $26,188,437 is still 16% lower than the $31.2 million CEO James West reported in 2008 and even slightly more than the dollar figure he supplied in 2012.

    Allsworth also pointed out that due to fluctuating exchange rates revenue growth depends on where you are in the world. For the U.S. there was a decline in 2016 compared to 2008, for the UK there was an increase of 10%.
Thirty-seven percent of 2016 revenue came from the UK, 13% from Europe and 50% from the Rest of the World. A significant portion of ROW was from the U.S.

However, when compared to previous years, these numbers aren’t all that encouraging. In 2013 CEO James West reported that gross turnover in 2012 was about $31.5 million, about the same as it has been in 2008 ($31.2 million).

In 2008 the number of images licensed was “under 200,000” of the 14,280,000 image collection at the end of the year, or about 1.3%. Thus, the average price per image would have been about $173.

In 2012 Alamy licensed rights to 360,000 images, about twice as many images as in 2008, but the average price per license had dropped to about $87.50.

Moving on to 2016 we have been told that the average price per image licensed has dropped to between $40 and $50. Taking a mid-point that would mean that the number of images licensed had grown to something in the range of 581,965, a 61% increases in images licensed compared to 2012. But, due to the declining price per image this increased number of sales resulted in a 16% decline in gross turnover compared to 2012.

In addition, by the end of 2016 Alamy’s collection was almost 7 times larger than it was in 2008. (Today, there are 115 million images in the collection.) Thus, instead of licensing right to 1.3% of the images in the collection as they did in 2008, they licensed about 0.5% of the images in 2016. Gross revenue has declined 24% since 2008 or 2012.

For creators, the odds of making a sale or earning a reasonable amount of money from the images they create have declined dramatically.
It is important to point out that the trends for Alamy may actually be better than those for many other agencies whose sales figures are not available. This is particularly true of agencies that are adding significantly to their image collections.

For example, in last 4 quarters Shutterstock has seen an increase of about 2% in the number of images downloaded compared to the previous 4 quarters. Meanwhile they have grown the number of images in their collection by 51% compared to what they had a year ago. (155.8 million compared to 102.7 million a year earlier.) The average price per image downloaded over the last year is $3.06. Total downloads for the year are about 1.05 times the number of images in the collection at the end of the last quarter.

To review Alamy’s 2016 Annual Report and Financial Statements check out this link.

Copyright © 2017 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

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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