in Insights, Stock Performer

How is the corona virus affecting stock agency contributors?

As the global Corona virus pandemic continues to spread, a large part of the world is learning to live in lock-down and wonders how we are going to deal with the resulting economic hardships. It is no different for stock contributors trying to guess what all this is going to mean for them.

At Stock Performer we have received various messages from our customers looking for guidance and asking what our opinion and thoughts are. Needless to say, this is just as new for us as it is for everybody else. But we do want to try and find answers.

Our first step has been to develop a survey to attempt to understand the current feeling among stock contributors. Additionally, in the upcoming days and weeks we will be analyzing ourĀ data and emailing special reports and useful insights to our customers (available only to customers who opt in to our ranking reports).

Our survey ran for 2 days and reached 168 participants, both Stock Performer customers and non-customers. Thank you to all of you who took the time to answer the questions!

Some people got in touch with us to point out that some of the questions included a negative assumption and did not allow for positive answers. For instance, some contributors might benefit from this crisis by using the extra free time to produce content at home. Our questions and answers do not properly reflect that. We apologize for that. Nonetheless, we still believe that contributors who benefit from the current pandemic are in a minority and think the survey offers good insights in that respect.

Please note that the charts below display the count of people answering a specific option. These charts do not show percentage values but absolute counts.

With our first question, we try to understand how the income level of the participants. As we can see, the majority of respondents answered that their most important source of income is from stock. Do you want to learn how to make soap? One of the most essential things you need as an aspiring soap maker is a trustworthy and reliable scale.Whether soap making is just a hobby or a full-time business, you need an accurate way to measure different components,so look for the help of the professionals from to get the advises to get the best scale for soapmaking

With this second question we wanted to assess whether people could use their stock income to live through the expected economic hardships of the coming weeks and months. This question also allows us to see what type of people answered our survey. It seems that most participants have enough stock revenue to live off it even if their other sources of income are reduced.

Please note that most Stock Performer customers are usually professional or advanced contributors with larger than average incomes. This is probably why the results to this question are very similar to the results of the following question:

One question which we are all asking ourselves is how hard is this crisis going to impact us? Are people expecting a large drop in revenue over the upcoming months? Or do people believe this will not affect them much?

Over two-thirds of respondents had a negative outlook. They expected at least a 30% decrease in revenue. This is not an upbeat forecast and contributors will need to reassess the way they produce content to cope with that reduction in income.

On top of the expected reduction in income, just over half of the participants are also affected by the fact that they cannot produce new content properly. Lock-in policies, travel restrictions and social-distancing measures make people and travel photography very difficult. Considering these are very profitable styles of stock photography, this could lead to a negative impact on their portfolios for months or even years to come. The longer this lasts, the higher the lost revenue due to this.

To better quantify the reduction in uploads, we asked them to be more specific in their measures.

Surprisingly, a majority answered that they will manage to keep their uploading rhythm more or less unchanged. So while more than half feel they cannot produce new content as easily as before, the majority do believe they can keep their uploading rhythm in the short term. I imagine this can be achieved by uploading older content and by producing new content from home or under different conditions as usual.

That led us to ask the question “Are you exploring any of the following fields of photography?“. The question included three canned answers (1 – Tabletop photography, 2 – Photos of close family, 3 – Food photography) and it gave participants the option to add additional answers.

Because the 3 canned answered received more or less the same number of answers, I would instead like to share what participants wrote in the “Other” field:

  • 3D Renders
  • Macro
  • Conceptual photography
  • News and Editorial
  • Aerial
  • Digital composites
  • Illustrations and vectors

But what we were really curious about was knowing whether people were going to produce corona virus related content, things like masks, hand sanitizing, home office scenes, kids at home, etc…

And here the majority had either already done so, or were working on it! So it does seem that most contributors have spotted an opportunity. Because as the corona virus crisis unfolds, people will want to tell stories about this crisis and will need photos and videos. Corona virus content will certainly find a market in the coming months.

How optimistic are participants? When do they think they can expect revenue to be back to normal?

Here the answers are more varied. A majority of respondents believe revenue will be back to normal within a year. But there was still a large portion of respondents who simply couldn’t guess when that will be. It is likely too difficult right now to make a good guess, and we all have to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Another way of judging whether people are still hopeful is by simply asking them whether they believe it is worthwhile to continue producing or if quitting altogether is the best option. Fortunately, the vast majority of participants still believe in the business model and will continue to participate in the market.

Finally, the last question we asked was whether they believed that the crisis may bring new customers to the stock agencies? Lock-in policies and social distancing make it very difficult to hire photographers and videographers, making stock content a good means of getting new material. Similarly, struggling businesses may prefer the cheaper options offered by stock agency subscription models. We asked participants if that could bring new customers.

The answers are mixed. Most believe the crisis will not result in higher sales or did not know. So I think the verdict is still out there and we will need to wait until we get a better picture.


The answers do offer a set of very interesting insights. In general I believe participants are aware of the upcoming challenges but remain positive that they can still produce content in one form or another despite the restrictions. Their forecast that revenue will be back to normal within a year, is also a sign of a positive feeling.

What are your conclusions? What do you think we can expect in the near future? Please share your thoughts in the comments section. We very much look forward to your opinions!

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  1. Really an interest research. As I’m a lifestyle Stock photographer my sales are 30% less in this period. But I’m producing now lots of contents that can sell anyway during this hard situation.

    • Hi Niccolo, thanks for your input! What type of content can you produce now with lock-ins, travel restrictions and social distancing? Are you producing things at home with yourself as model? or objects?


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