Shutterstock Surpasses 200 Million Global Stock Image Downloads

Posted on 2/2/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Shutterstock ( has delivered more than 200 million licensed image downloads to its customers since its founding in 2004. This number far exceeds that of any other company licensing rights to stock photography. The company’s closest competitor in the microstock arena is iStockphoto. According to the latest figures from iStock has licensed 116,134,740+ downloads. (The + probably represents a few thousands above this number.)

In conjunction with this milestone, Shutterstock has released an infographic that provides a number of findings about visual media trends. (See

"Serving over two hundred million downloads has given us a powerful glimpse into emerging visual trends, and the ways that people use images to tell stories," said Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO of Shutterstock. "We've seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of vectors, for example, and shifts in the types of images used to represent certain themes."

In 2005 vector graphics that allow designers to scale and recolor the image as needed only represented 5% of the company’s total downloads. In 2011 there were 16 million vector downloads representing 32% of total downloads.

The infographic also demonstrates how the visual vocabulary is evolving."Searching the word 'networking' used to return images of handshakes and business contacts; now it's all about online social networking. Additionally, it has been interesting to watch stylistic trends like vintage and graffiti-inspired graphics make their way around the world.  Being at the intersection between millions of customers and hundreds of thousands of contributors, the content and activity in our marketplace is an ever-changing reflection of the world around us," Oringer added.

Keywords used for searching in 2004 and 2005 such as “social, cloud, network, green, like, mobile” now often have totally different meanings. When it comes to illustrating concepts customers tend look more for graphic illustrations than the photo realistic images they purchased in the past. Other subject areas that were in high demand in 2011 were 6 million downloads of textures and 5 million of vintage subject matter.

Some of the popular subjects are:

  Images in Downloads
  Collection Since 2004
Cats 120,000 407,000
Graffiti 43,000 196,000
World Disasters 31,000 124,000
Social Media 5,000 102,000
Royal Wedding 4,000 79,000
Green Technology 21,000 46,000

Shutterstock has more than 17 million images in its library.

Copyright © 2012 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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