The Creator Economy Statistics (2023)

The Creator Economy is an ecosystem that includes not only the people who create the products and services sold online but also the businesses that have grown up to empower these creators. It includes content creators, curators, and community builders. It also includes designers, artists, bloggers, influencers, course creators, and anyone who earns money monetizing their talents, knowledge, or skills. [1]

Key Takeaways:

  • The creator economy affects the overall economy. [2]
  • The creator economy is predicted to reach over $200 billion by 2026. [3]
  • Gen Z creators begin earlier and monetize more quickly than previous generations. [4]
  • Creators seek ownership of content and control of interactions with their audiences. [5]
  • Brand and platform investments give creators more opportunities to create. [6]
  • The “Great Resignation” increased the number of people entering the creator economy. [7]

Market Size & Worth

The creator economy is currently valued at over $104 billion and is projected to grow to over $200 billion by 2026. [5] It includes over 300 million total creators and 50 million plus creators and influencers who monetize courses, blogs, vlogs, subscriptions, memberships, and products across multiple platforms to sell directly to the consumer. It also includes platforms that enable creators to share their work.

Creators

What Is a Creator? 

The term creator applies to anyone who creates original content and shares it on the internet, whether for a company or independently. One in four people contributes content to the internet. Of the 300 million creators worldwide, over 50 million are independent creators. [5]

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 165 million people have become creators.

165 Million New Creators Since 2020
Country New Creators in Millions Total Population in Millions
Australia 6 25
Brazil 73 213
France 16 67
Germany 19 83
Japan 18 126
South Korea 17 52
Spain 10 47
United Kingdom 16 67
United States 86 328

 [8]

Creators

[8]

Millennials account for the most significant single percentage of creators; however, members of Gen Z are more likely to become creators than any other demographic.

Gender and Age

  • 48% of creators are Millennials born 1981-1996.
  • 71% of creators are over 30.
  • The average age of creators is 37.
    • 36% are 40 or older.
    • 22% are between 26 and 39.
    • 14% are 16-25, and this number is growing daily.
    •  6% are over 60.
  • More than half of creators are male.
    • 55.7% male
    • 44.3% female
  • 77% of monetizers started monetizing within the last year. [9]
  •  30% chose monetization to create due to the desire to earn extra money.
  • 48% make 50% of their income from creative activities.

While most creators today are over 30 and have a full or part-time job other than creating, the number of 16-25-year-old creators choosing to create rather than attend college is growing daily. 

Gen Z creators also tend to monetize more quickly than older creators. These creators saw the rise in demand for content during the pandemic. Since many were in jobs that resulted in layoffs, they needed to find other income as soon as possible. Gen Z’s media savviness made content creation the natural answer to that need.

Gen Z also places less emphasis on a college education due to the proliferation of video content online. They can easily learn what they need from the internet and YouTube videos. This abundance of information allows them to monetize their creations earlier and avoid student loans. [10]

Gen Z Creators

  • 49% of students polled plan to become creators rather than attend college.

These factors and the desire for a passion project make the creator economy more attractive than standard jobs. [4]

Current Educational Level of Creators
Bachelor’s degree 77%
Associate’s degree 10%
Master’s degree 7%
High school diploma 3%
Other degrees 3%

Society and Culture

  • In the United States and the United Kingdom, children are three times more likely to aspire to be content creators than astronauts.
    • 29% of children in the United States and
    • 30% of children in the United Kingdom want to be content creators.
    • 11% want to be astronauts.
  • Children in China reverse the preferences:
    • 56% want to be astronauts while
    • 18% want to be content creators. [11]
Reasons People Choose to be Content Creators
26% Money
46% Freedom of expression
28% Desire to make a difference
How Creators Measure Success
10.70% Money
2.14% Followers
17.11% Engagement
1.34% Ability to have a positive impact
68.72% Combination of all the above factors
Society and Culture

However, much like the reasons people become creators, money is not the primary contributing factor to what creators consider success. [12]

Most Often Created Types of Content

Full-time creators manufacture content around business and marketing. In contrast, part-time creators lean toward personal topics such as art, design, and mental health.

Content Topics – Full-Time Creators
Entrepreneurship 37%
Personal Development 29%
Marketing 28%
Small Business 27%
Online Business 26%
Content Topics – Part-Time Creators
Personal Development 23%
Art 19%
Design 14%
Crafts 13%
Mental Health 13%

[9] 

Monetization 

Creators who make a living from their content use several methods to monetize their brand, often with multi-vendor platforms such as Kajabi or Payhip:

  • Courses as products
  • Course certificates
  • Subscriptions
  • Membership sites
  • Payment installations
  • Link-in-bio tools
Sources of Creator Monetization
Sponsorship and Brand Deals 77%
Courses 2%
Subscriptions and Memberships 1%
Direct Sales of Goods and Services 5%
Advertising 5%

[13]

Photography, Creative Writing, and Visual Arts are the most often monetized.

Activities Monetized Global Total US UK AU FR DE JP BR SP SK
Photography 26% 23% 23% 24% 22% 24% 33% 31% 25% 30%
Creative Writing 16% 15% 17% 19% 14% 18% 8% 15% 13% 22%
Visual Arts 15% 18% 17% 14% 13% 11% 20% 14% 14% 9%
Graphic Design 13% 15% 16% 14% 12% 12% 10% 17% 16% 10%
Filmmaking 11% 10% 9% 11% 13% 10% 8% 20% 10% 11%
Crafting (woodwork, metalwork, sculpture, ceramics) 10% 9% 13% 11% 13% 14% 8% 10% 10% 11%
Fashion Design 10% 11% 11% 15% 11% 7% 6% 9% 9% 8%
App/Gaming Development, Website Creation 10% 12% 14% 11% 10% 9% 7% 10% 6% 9%
Music Creation/Production 9% 17% 10% 11% 9% 10% 7% 5% 6% 6%
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) 8% 15% 9% 7% 4% 6% 3% 9% 5% 10%
VR/AR 7% 11% 11% 7% 7% 7% 5% 5% 4% 8%
Podcasting 6% 7% 9% 7% 7% 5% 3% 5% 6% 6%
Activities Monetized

[4]

Creator Monetization Improvements

Of the top creators, most use communities, live video, and post-scheduling to grow their businesses.

  • 35% of users making $50k+ per year use communities to grow their audiences. The use of community-based platforms is multiplying.
    • Community-based platforms allow creators a more direct connection with their users.
    • 63% of users say they have tipped their favorite creators online. [14]
  • Users making $50k+ are 1.5 times more likely to use live interaction, such as live streaming and pre-made videos on courses.
  • Users making $50k+ are 1.25 times more likely to use available scheduling features to schedule posts or classes over time. [15]
  • 85% of top creators sell more than one product type.
  • 31 million users on Instagram use link-in-bio pages.
    • 49% are from the United States.
    • 77% of all link-in-bio users on Instagram have less than 5000 followers. [16].
    • 62 link-in-bio apps now allow creators to use a single link on their Instagram bio pages to take users to a separate landing page where they can provide links to more than one product type. [17] 

Subscriptions are one of the more popular monetization methods; however, many platforms take a percentage of the creator’s earnings.

Most Often Used Platforms by Creators

Platform Percentage of Creators Using
Instagram 92%
YouTube 70%
Facebook 45%
Blogs 44%
TikTok 35%
Twitter 33%
LinkedIn 19%
Pinterest 15%
Twitch 6%
Platforms by Creators

Subscription Fee Rates per Platform

Platform Program Percentage Paid to Platform
Twitter Tip Jar 0%
Clubhouse Payments 0%
Facebook Stars 5%-30%
Twitch Cheer with Bits 50%
Only Fans Tipping 20%
YouTube Super Stickers 30%
Instagram Badges in Live 0%
TikTok Virtual Gifts in Live 50%
Subscription Fee Rates per Platform

Best Monetization Channels for Creators

Platform Average Monthly Earnings
YouTube $4,118
Instagram $3,853
Personal Blogs $2,400
TikTok $1,674
Best Monetization Channels for Creators

While TikTok and YouTube are the most used platforms, TikTok followers are considered less valuable than YouTube and Instagram followers. YouTube and Instagram allow creators to stay in contact with their audiences better than TikTok. As a result, the number of followers on TikTok correlates less closely with the amount of money earned on YouTube and Instagram. [18]

However, the U.S. government has banned TikTok from government sites, and the House is considering banning it country-wide. India and Afghanistan have current TikTok bans. Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia have temporarily banned TikTok in the past, although they have now lifted those bans. While TikTok is not as monetarily valuable as some other platforms, a TikTok ban will deny American creators of a primary source of exposure.

The Creator Economy Statistics (2023)

Types of Creator Platforms

Most creators who annually make over $50k use multiple platforms to increase earnings. Improved algorithms and creator funds on some of these platforms enable more creators than ever before to monetize their content.

  • Portal Platforms (front pages)
    • YouTube
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
  • Creation Platforms (tools for creation)
    • SoundCloud
    • Substack
    • Medium
    • Roblox
    • Twitch
  • Sponsorship Platforms (donation and membership sites)
    • Howl
      • Unlike other platforms, Howl connects creators to brands and charges the retailer rather than the creator.[19]
    • Patreon
    • OnlyFans
    • GoFundMe [20]

Types of Products Sold

79% of creators sell memberships, coaching products, and courses. However, more creators are including digital downloads and physical products they have created. 

Types of Products Sold
Memberships 35%
Coaching 25%
Courses 19%
Digital Downloads 15%
Communities 10%
Merchandise 6%
Types of Products Sold

Tools for Creators

  • Over 300 new online apps and programs exist to support creators.
    • Major platforms have all added ways to support creators. Several platforms either now have or recently had programs to encourage creators. Some of these investments have ended with the downturn in the economy. However, as creator funds from platforms decrease, options for monetization increase:
      • Training programs and mentorships
      • Financial help
      • Management tools
        • Financial tools
        • Analytics
        • Project management
      • Marketing tips
      • Referral pages
    • Apps that allow creators flexibility in creating
      • Content creation apps
        • Text
        • Images and video
        • Live stream
        • Music and audio
        • Games
      • Community management tools
        • Chat apps
        • Link-in-bio
        • Livestream
        • Newsletters 
      • Monetization
        • Social media sites
        • Membership sites
        • Apps to connect with brands
        • Events
        • E-commerce
        • Digital products and merchandise
        • Courses
        • Fan interaction
        • Financial tools 
        • [21]
  • There are over 300 million total creators worldwide from 9 countries. [22]
  • This total includes over 50 million creators selling their knowledge, skills, and talents directly to consumers via the internet. [3]
  • 47.5 million of those creators consider themselves amateurs.

Creators Since the Pandemic

    • Remote work 
      • One of the primary reasons people have left jobs since the pandemic of 2020 is to find remote work.
        • 43% of people who left their jobs since 2020 left to find remote work.
      • 52% of creators have started creating since 2020.
    • Social causes
      • 25% of creators use their content to advance social causes.
    • Mental health
      • Creators overall find creating beneficial to their mental health, especially if they are passionate about their subject.
        • Many creators see it as a way to express themselves.
        • Other creators see it as a way to support causes they care about. [8]
      • 61% of creators who focus solely on content creation experienced burnout in 2021. [9]
        • New tools on social media sites make it possible to schedule posts ahead of time to alleviate some of the pressure on creators.
    • Purchase decisions
      • Gen Z consumers, in particular, are more likely to purchase based on creators and influencers. 
        • 55% of Gen Z consider influencer recommendations one of the most important factors in purchase decisions. [23]

Future Trends & Projected Growth

Market projections predict the global creator economy will grow to over $200 billion by 2026. Several trends are driving this growth.

Venture Capital

  • U.S. creator app startups have raised more than $17 billion since early 2021.
    • Due to concerns about the economy, venture capital investments fell 30% in the second quarter of 2022. [24]
  • Predictions indicate 2023 will see VC funding return to the higher 2021 level. [25] 
  • Out of 301 capital investments in the creator economy, most went to creator services and platforms. [26]
Type of Business Number of Investments
Creator Services 63
Creator Platform 52
Crypto 37
Music 23
Marketing 22
Gaming 20
Financial Services 19
Social Media 19
Education 15
Shopping 15
Live Streaming 8
Publishing 8

While venture capital may remain sluggish due to the economic downturn, the creator economy is in no danger of slowing. Additionally, more creators enter the market daily, seeking ways to express themselves. 

Trends Driving the Growth of the Creator Economy

The Rise in Internet Use and Globalized Content 

  • Over five billion people use the internet daily.
    • 93% of Americans use the internet.
    • 73% of internet users use social media. [27] 
    • 59% of the global population uses the internet. [28]

Creators as Founders

Creators are moving their fans off social media to personal websites, apps, and monetization tools to better connect with fans.

  • Creators who make more than $100K are taking their fans to their personal sites to better control access to their audiences. [5]
  • 25% of creators who make more than $100K are business owners.
  • 39% aspire to be business owners.
  • 60% have full or part-time jobs. [29]
  • 55% have at least one child. [9]

Creators Are Gaining Power in the Media 

  • While most platforms have phased out creator funds, some sites, such as Walmart, still have them.
  • Rather than having creator funds, most social media sites now have improved monetization methods to increase opportunities for creators to grow their followings. [30]
    • Training and mentorships
    • Financial help and tools
    • Marketing tips
    • Referral pages
      • For You pages
      • Recommendations
    • Membership and subscription pages

The “Great Resignation” has resulted in over 4 million people per month leaving their jobs since November of 2021. [31] This trend continues today. 

  • 4 million people quit their jobs in October of 2022. [32]
    • 63% were looking for a better work/life balance.
    • 50% left to seek better pay and benefits.
    • 44% plan to start their own business.
    • 43% were looking for remote work.
    • 41% were looking for a job that fuels their passion. 
    • Many older employees laid off during Covid are not returning to work. 

Predictions indicate 50% of the U.S. workforce will be independent workers by 2025 – 2030. Those workers will join the gig and creator economies.

  • 69% of remote workers have at least one side hustle. [33]
  • 65% of respondents rank workplace inclusivity and the ability to make a difference high on the list of importance in deciding where to work. [34]

Challenges for the Creator Economy

Creating a Creator Middle Class

  • Currently, only 21% of creators make more than $50k annually.
    • Over 46 percent of creators considered full-time make no more than $1000 per year.
  • Online platforms are creating more tools and apps to help creators monetize their content which will help develop the creator middle class:
    • Content creation apps
    • Presentation apps
    • Distribution apps
    • Funding
    • Improved monetization 
    • Learning and support [35]

Content Alone Will Kill the Creator Economy

    • 61% of creators experienced burnout in 2021.
      • The pressure to stay relevant and deal with negative comments online can result in burnout. [9]
        • The ability to schedule posts and other tweaks to social media platforms can help with this. [36] 

Monetization

    • 49% of creators say monetizing their content is their biggest challenge.
      [37]
    • Financial companies and banks are becoming more willing to finance creators who meet benchmarks.
      • Revenue-based financing is becoming more the norm for creators as more than a dozen firms now offer this as an option for creators.
      • Equity-based financing is another option now available for creators; however, revenue-based financing may be the more flexible of the two, depending on the creator. [38]

Bottom Line

The future of the creator economy looks bright. The number of creators in all age groups and genders multiplies daily. The potential for growth in the creator economy is limitless. The growth of demand for creative content online exploded during the pandemic, and this demand has not dropped to pre-pandemic levels as businesses have reopened. Consumers, particularly Gen Z consumers, rely more on influencers and creative content online to make decisions about work/life balance, purchasing decisions, and working methods. 

Media platforms have greatly improved their content creation tools to enable creators to create and monetize more easily. While creators with more significant followings move their fans to their personal websites, these new tools make it easier than ever for new creators to begin creating and monetizing. 

Since 2021, venture capital investments in creator services and platforms have reached $17 billion.  As businesses have opened back up after the pandemic and the economy has slowed, venture capital investments also slowed during the second half of 2022. However, experts predict these investments will bounce back in 2023, enabling media platforms to continue to create new tools and services for creators.

Internet use and the popularity of creative content online are still well above pre-pandemic levels and show no signs of dropping, ensuring the future of the creator economy.

Citations
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