The market leading microstock agency Shutterstock has just published its annual contributor earnings report. The overall earnings have grown by about a third compared to 2013 and reached an amount of $83 million last year.
They are going into some details on where their most successful contributors are located: A rather surprising high percentage of contributor payments are being paid to European members who cashed in $59 million or almost three quarters of the total payout. Asian contributors with $12 million in royalties have overtaken the Americas (more than $10 millions are being paid to there) while Africa and Oceania combined only generated 2% of the total values.
While Shutterstock only mentions that US contributors are coming in on third place, and UK as most likely the biggest earner in Western Europe only scored 5th (Germany being a million behind the UK), we can conclude that three of the top five countries making money from the market are located in Eastern Europe. It's no secret that Ukraine, Russia and Serbia have a big stock photography community, so these would be good guesses. Though people like microstock superstar Elnur Amikishiyev alone can make a (otherwise in the global economy rarely talked about) country like Azerbaidjan look a serious supplier in the market.
The blog post is filled with fun facts like the first content having been licensed for contributors based in Madagascar, and that contributors in Belize on average made more in royalties than the average GDP of the country.
Besides the earning report, Shutterstock is also giving the top advices about current buyer trends in the photo, video and music sections. They also added a part explaining the most common reasons for rejections these days and how to improve your acceptance rates and sales. (and don't miss out the contributor stories hiding behind the highlighted images in the global regions)
Overall the Shutterstock contributor report is very worth reading.