The Pixelz Product Image Report: What 13 Million Edited Images Can Teach You

Written by Thomas Kragelund, CEO and founder of Pixelz

Have you ever wondered if there’s an industry standard for product images? And why do people make the choices they do when it comes to properties like background and alignment? Well, at Pixelz, we certainly wondered! About a year ago, we took the data from over twenty thousand customers and seven million edited product images in order to find some of the answers to these questions. You can see what we found out in our original in-depth product image report blog post.

However, a year is a pretty long time on the internet, and we wondered if any new trends had developed since then. We’ve now refreshed that data for 1&1, and now have a summary that analyses 13 million edited product images. That’s the seven million from our original report, plus six million more recent images.

 Here’s What We Learned

The highlights of our findings can be found in a handy infographic we’ve prepared below. But for a more detailed analysis, including what the data really mean for you, make sure you keep on reading.

Pixelz_Infographic_13mill_02

File type, size, and background are universal properties; every product image has them. However a product’s vertical alignment is slightly more arguable, here’s our summary data:

  • 71% of images are outputted as JPG
  • 71% are vertically aligned
  • 72% are filled with a white background

Now let’s take a closer look at image properties.

File Type: All Hail King JPG

At Pixelz, you can have your processed images outputted as JPG, PNG, TIFF, or PSD. As you might guess, JPG absolutely dominates, in this aspect (and most likely the TIFF and PSD end up as JPG when ultimately pushed to the web): JPG is far and away the most common product image file type.

Why does JPG rule the web? Page load speed matters more than perfect compression. JPG uses lossy, otherwise known as irreversible compression that maintains high (but not perfect) quality. Whereas PNG uses lossless compression that stands up to any amount of zooming and allows transparency.

However JPG images are smaller (less bytes), which means they are far quicker to load. On the internet, loading even a fraction of a second slower will cost you sales, which would account for JPEG’s popularity.

Going back to our chart, it’s safe to assume that when PSD and TIFF are selected, the final images will be used for very specific purposes. Both formats allow layer masks and clipping paths to be returned from image editors to the owner, which is useful if you’re planning cross platform publication of your product images (like printed catalogues, web, email, etc.).

Background: White Wins Handily

Most image owners elect to have the original background cut out of their product images and replaced with pure white.

Why are most image backgrounds white? Consistency and accurate colour representation are both served by white backgrounds. There are actually several things going on here:

  1. Removing the background from a product image eliminates distractions and keeps the focus on your product
  2. Solid colour backgrounds reduce your file size, because they simplify compression
  3. Most web pages are white, so a white background allows your image to blend in
  4. Filling the background of your image with white, much like photographing products on a white backdrop means the colours of the products are accurately represented.

 What’s a transparent background?

transparent4A useful but not fully supported feature. Images with transparent backgrounds have the original background cut out and don’t have it replaced it with anything else. Transparency makes it easier to overlay your product onto different platforms, for example on webpages with different coloured backgrounds.

However, transparency isn’t supported by JPG, and you can run into display issues with transparent PNGs. If an application or CMS doesn’t support transparency for whatever reason, you could run into formatting issues with your images.

 Vertical Alignment: Find Your Centre

vertically-centerImages can be vertically aligned relative to their height by top, bottom, or centre. And in terms of popularity, centre vertical alignment comes out as the clear winner.

Why should I vertically centre my product images? It provides the most consistent presentation. Vertical centre alignment creates clean lines even when you have products that vary in size and shape, like jewellery, furniture, tools, or other products.

A bottom alignment is effective if you have a category page with one product type, like a page made entirely of similarly shaped handbags. You can preview these different alignments when creating Pixelz order specifications.

What does this all mean?

That’s really up to you! You don’t need to necessarily copy what everyone else is doing, but it’s advisable for you to consider the reasons behind such clear trends.

Of course, there’s also value in being different. Don’t be afraid to get creative, while still making sure you optimise your images for the web.

About the Author

thomas_kragelundThomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years.

Pictures/infographics: Pixzelz

Category: eBusiness | Tips
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