Shutterstock Releases Survey: Designer Use of Stock Up in Down Economy

Posted on 6/11/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

New York microstock company Shutterstock says a recent survey shows that over 40% of traditional buyers are using more stock photography this year compared to last. The survey was conducted by Pennsylvania-based International Communications Research.

ICR surveyed 300 U.S. buyers, including 120 art directors and 180 graphic designers, who were overwhelmingly aware of stock photography (93%). The survey averaged 10 minutes in length per participant.

As expected, traditional buyers face significant economic pressures. Two in five art directors cite year-over-year budget decreases. Over 20% of all respondents are working on more projects for a lower profit. Two thirds (67%) are doing more in-house production as a cost-cutting measure.

An upsurge in the use of stock is also among cost-cutting strategies. A fifth (18%) of respondents said they are using traditional stock agencies more, and more than half (51%) said their use of online royalty-free stock agencies—read: microstock—is up.

The suggested trend toward increased overall use of stock is encouraging for traditional agencies that were troubled prior to the recession. However, such agencies should not necessarily view the ICR survey as reassuring, because it does not quantify the effect of recession on the traditional versus microstock market share. The overall use of stock being up does not necessarily mean that traditional stock sales are up; it is more than possible that the pace of microstock cannibalization of traditional business has increased during this downturn.

The survey provides some evidence to support this theory. Over a fifth (21%) of respondents use subscription agencies as their primary source of images. The most lucrative traditional customers—such as companies with 10 or more employees and businesses that use images heavily—are increasingly turning to subscription products. When choosing among these, cost is the number one factor influencing purchasing decisions for 80% of respondents.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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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