As the internet has developed, ordinary people have had a more significant opportunity to shape the content that we can see. We are no longer reliant on massive media companies to provide us with news and entertainment. We are happy to consume content made by everyday people like ourselves. Over time, the creator economy has developed to be a major force.
Once, you needed expensive cameras and other equipment to make content. Nowadays, you can work wonders using just the smartphone that most of us carry in our pockets. This has led to a much more egalitarian landscape, albeit leading to accusations of "fake news" because it is harder to determine the truth of what you see online. A side effect of this has been the rise of new career opportunities. People can now make a living from their online endeavors. There is now a sizeable creator economy, and in this post, we take a look at some key statistics relating to it.
20 Creator Economy Stats that will Blow you Away:
- 1. A large percentage of consumers identify as creators
- 2. Over 200 Million People Consider Themselves As Creators
- 3. Content Creators Can Earn Over $50k a Year
- 4. The Global Influencer Market Size Has Increased To $21 Billion In 2023
- 5. Over 2.1 Million Creators Are On OnlyFans
- 6. 97.5% of YouTubers Don't Make Enough to Reach the U.S. Poverty Line
- 7. Ad Revenue for Creators has Declined by 33% During COVID
- 8. Half of Consumers Use Ad-Blocking Technology
- 9. 1 in 4 American Kids Plan to Become Social Media Influencers
- 10. 35,000 YouTube Channels Have More Than 1 Million Subscribers
- 11. 3.32% Instagrammers Have More Than 100,000 Followers
- 12. More Than 2 Million Twitch Streamers Are Either Partners Or Affiliates
- 13. Mr. Beast Was Top Creator for 2022
- 14. Content Creators Earned a Baseline of $5.5 Billion on the Nine Platforms in 2022
- 15. World Record For The Longest Livestream Is 624 Hours
- 16. Letters From An American Is The Top Earning Newsletter on Substack
- 17. The Creator Economy Could Reach $480 Billion By 2027
- 18. 52% of Creators Spent 0-39 Hours Per Month Devoted to Social Content
- 19. Thematic Has 34 Billion Plays and 35 Million Fan Conversions
- 20. $24 Million Estimated Monthly Payouts on Patreon
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. A large percentage of consumers identify as creators
HubSpot’s 2022 State of Consumer Trends report, found that the creator economy is rising in popularity rapidly. In fact, 30% of surveyed 18 to 24-year-olds and 40% of 25 to 34-year-olds consider themselves content creators. As Forbes describes, "Ask a kid today in the U.S. what they want to be when they grow up. No longer is musician or athlete the top answer. It's a YouTuber—an answer 3x more popular than astronaut."
2. Over 200 Million People Consider Themselves As Creators
Around 200 million people consider themselves creators, though a little more than a third would say that it would be their full-time career. As much as 66% of creators view their work as a side hustle, which indicates that while more creators will join the market in the future, it’s still very far from being a stable career for many individuals.
Linktree’s 2022 Creator Report categorizes creators into five groups by considering their audience size:
- Recreational (with 0–1K followers): 23 million
- Semi-Pro (with 1–10K followers): 139 million
- Pro (with 10K–100K followers): 41 million
- Expert (with 100K–1 million followers): 2 million
- Expert+ (with 1 million followers and above): 2 million
Particularly noteworthy is that most creators are at the semi-professional level, which points to the still-growing state of the creator economy.
3. Content Creators Can Earn Over $50k a Year
The same Linktree report found that while creators can earn more than $50K a year, this number fluctuates greatly depending on how much work they put in. Only 12% of full-time creators earn more or around $50K a year, while 46% of creators earn less than $1K in annual revenue.
This pattern repeats somewhat for part-time creators: only 3% of part-time creators have annual revenues past $50K, while 68% earn less than $1K a year. While a financially lucrative career, any potential creators need to be realistic about their possible earnings and plan their growth accordingly.
4. The Global Influencer Market Size Has Increased To $21 Billion In 2023
We have written many articles about influencers here on the Influencer Marketing Hub. Back in our first post, What is an Influencer, we described an influencer as being someone who has:
- the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience,
- a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche.
Creators and influencers have significant overlap—with most considering them to be the same thing—as they create content to deliver to their audience. Statista estimates that the global influencer market size has doubled since 2019, being worth $21 billion in 2023 from $16.4 billion in 2022.
5. Over 2.1 Million Creators Are On OnlyFans
Many creators now run channels on OnlyFans, which is considered part of the new creator economy as it provides a ready market for creators to charge for their goods or services. Support for OnlyFans also rose dramatically during the 2020 lockdowns.
According to the Small Business Blog (since the IRS considers OnlyFans creators as small business owners), around 2.1 million content creators are on the OnlyFans platform. With 210 million people using the site overall, it’s become a lucrative option for many content creators.
6. 97.5% of YouTubers Don't Make Enough to Reach the U.S. Poverty Line
YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for creators, but even it can have its hiccups when it comes to ad revenue. The site only managed to make around $6.69 billion in advertising revenue for the first fiscal quarter of 2023, being the third quarter in a row that YouTube’s ad revenues have gone down. Even with YouTube itself doing more for monetization like putting ad payouts in YouTube Shorts, these efforts haven’t been as successful as expected.
This means that for most creators, it's nearly impossible to make a sizable income via ads. You need a substantial audience so that even a small percentage of viewers watching your ads makes a noticeable effect, or you need very supportive viewers willing to watch ads as a favor to you. Studies show that a YouTuber with 20,000 views per day and an average click-through rate of 50% earns only a little over the US poverty line of $13,590. Therefore, YouTube creators need to find other ways to supplement their advertising income.
7. Ad Revenue for Creators has Declined by 33% During COVID
While, in theory, you might think that ad revenue for creators should have increased during the COVID lockdowns, that hasn't happened in practice. Sure, people are watching more videos, and some may be more willing to let ads run, but the problem was that many companies halted their ad campaigns. Of course, with sales in many industries up overall, that was probably a short-sighted decision for many firms.
8. Half of Consumers Use Ad-Blocking Technology
The other issue that creators face has been the popularity of ad blocking technology in recent times. One of the reasons that influencer marketing has become so popular in recent years that the average global ad-blocking rate was estimated at 42.7% during 2022. This is a double-edged sword for creators. The ad blockers greatly reduce their chances of making money from any ads they may place on their websites and social pages. On the other hand, however, it increases their marketability as influencers, who can still promote products through their regular posts.
9. 1 in 4 American Kids Plan to Become Social Media Influencers
As we mentioned previously, there has been a noticeable change in the aims and aspirations of Generation Z kids compared to their predecessors. A HigherVisibility survey found that one in four Gen Zs across the US plan to have a social media influencer career. Moreover, 16% are willing to pay to become an influencer.
10. 35,000 YouTube Channels Have More Than 1 Million Subscribers
There are approximately 113.9 million YouTube channels as of 2022, which account for only 4.4% of the 2.6 billion active users on the platform.
Meanwhile, only 35,000 YouTube channels have over 1 million subscribers in 2023. Indian music Network T-series still holds the record for most subscribers in the world at 244 million followers, with YouTube Movies at 168 million, and YouTuber MrBeast at 162 million.
More than 300,000 YouTube channels have over 100,000 subscribers, at which point YouTube considers you worthy of having a partner manager to help your future growth.
11. 3.32% Instagrammers Have More Than 100,000 Followers
Instagram has over 1 billion active users (Instagram hasn't updated this statistic recently, so we don't know how close they are to reaching their second billion). It is obviously an ideal platform for creators who specialize in the visual medium. Most Instagrammers run relatively small accounts - 34.7% of Instagram followers have fewer than 1,000 followers.
However, 3.32% Of Instagram users have between 100,000 and 500,000 followers.
12. More Than 2 Million Twitch Streamers Are Either Partners Or Affiliates
Twitch currently has over 61,782 partners and a little over 2 million affiliates. The percentage of new partners and affiliates tends to differ, though April of 2023 has shown the most growth so far. Around 722 new partners and 45,373 new affiliates were recognized by the platform.
13. Mr. Beast Was Top Creator for 2022
Jimmy Donaldson, or better known as Mr. Beast is YouTube's top earner for three consecutive years. Followed by Charlie D'Amelio and Alexandra Cooper, the YouTube powerhouse Mr.Beast is the top creator according to Forbes. He overthrow Pewdiepie back in 2019, and could possibly become the first YouTube billionaire. With over 163 million subscribers, stunts like being buried for over 50 hours, and attempting a 30 day fast, have made Jimmy Donaldson $54 million a year. He's not stopping there. His entrepreneurial ventures include Mr. Beast Burgers, a virtual restaurant where you can order a Mr. Beast Burger via an app, and Feastables, a food brand that makes “snacks with ingredients you can trust”.
14. Content Creators Earned a Baseline of $5.5 Billion on the Nine Platforms in 2022
Zippia lists an estimation of creators' incomes on these platforms in 2022:
- YouTube – $4 billion
- Etsy – $1,46 billion
- Instagram – $460 million
- WordPress – $348 million
- Amazon Publishing – $220 million
It is very noticeable how the platforms with the greatest number of creators were not necessarily the same as the highest-earning platforms. YouTube and Etsy stand out for being disproportionately lucrative to its creators.
15. World Record For The Longest Livestream Is 624 Hours
On September 2022, Chinese company Zhejiang Luyuan Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd was officially recorded to have the longest livestream video at 624 hours, 37 minutes, and 55 seconds. The previous record was by YouTuber Hassan Suleiman AKA AboFlah, who livestreamed "The World's Coolest Winter", an initiative to raise humanitarian aid for refugees. During his livestream, AboFlah set the Guinness World record for the longest stream in March 2022 at 268 hours, 14 minutes, and 20 seconds. It was watched by 698,000 people on YouTube.
16. Letters From An American Is The Top Earning Newsletter on Substack
Substack is a place where independent writers can display their craft. Writers can start a newsletter and make money from subscriptions. Several famous journalists now publish on Substack after parting company with their previous employers.
The highest-earning newsletter based on annual subscription costs and subscriber count is Letters from an American by Heather Cox Richardson, with minimum implied earnings of $5 million. This is followed by the Pragmatic Engineer and Lenny’s Newsletter, both with earnings of $1.5 million.
17. The Creator Economy Could Reach $480 Billion By 2027
The combined development of technology and a steady increase in digital consumption leads analysts from Goldman Sachs to predict that the creator economy can almost double in size from $250 billion to a potential $480 billion. Influencer marketing and platform payouts fueled by short-form video monetization through advertising are also expected to be the biggest drivers of creator economy growth.
18. 52% of Creators Spent 0-39 Hours Per Month Devoted to Social Content
In ConvertKit’s 2022 State of the Creator Economy report, almost 30% of full-time creators worked more than 40 hours a week on content in 2021, but less than 25% planned to do so in 2022. Furthermore, close to 25% spent 30 to 40 hours per week, while over 20% spent 20 to 30 hours per week, and less than 10% devoted less than 20 hours a week to their social content.
19. Thematic Has 34 Billion Plays and 35 Million Fan Conversions
Thematic tries to solve the licensing problems besetting YouTube and other platforms. They have created a licensing safe space for content creators that aims to democratize music distribution. Since its launch in 2018, Thematic has unlocked 34 billion plays and 35 million fan conversions for independent artists.
20. $24 Million Estimated Monthly Payouts on Patreon
Graphtreon keeps daily updates of statistics relating to crowd funder, Patreon, which many creators use to source income.
Current estimates in 2023 are around 14 million users who’ve pledged on the platform, with a little under $28 million in monthly payouts to creators. At least 227,298 creators have at least one patron.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does an influencer do?
Most if not all influencers are creators in some way. Influencers have the power to impact the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, and relationship with their audience. They actively engage with their following in a distinct niche, whether it be through articles, images, or videos.
How many professional creators are there?
According to Forbes, about only 2 million of the 50 million creators consider themselves to be professional creators and can claim that being a creator is their full-time job. Thus, the vast majority (about 46.7 million creators) still view themselves as amateurs. This number is expected to change with the number of creators increasing rapidly at the moment. About half of these professional creators are mostly on YouTube, while 500,000 prefer Instagram and 300,000 are on Twitch.
How much can a creator make?
The industry can be financially lucrative. Technically, creators fall into the category of “small businesses”. In the NeoReach survey, 1.4% of respondents claim to be earning six figures. That being said, the road to financial stability in the creator economy is a steep climb. For one, a YouTuber with 20,000 views per day and an average click-through rate of 50% earns only a little over the US poverty line of $13,590.
How much time do creators spend making content (social or otherwise)?
As mentioned earlier, ConvertKit’s 2022 report shares that almost 30% of full-time creators worked more than 40 hours a week on content in 2021. Meanwhile, Linktree’s 2022 Creator Report shares that around 43% of creators spend around 5 hours or less a week creating content. This becomes somewhat of a struggle for beginner creators, with 59% of them not having been monetized at all despite putting in the work. Monetization becomes even less of an exact science even at high earnings, as 48% of creators who make $100-500K a year spend more than 10 hours a week creating content. This indicates that despite popular opinion, working more doesn’t always equate to more revenue for creators.