20 Creator Economy Statistics That Will Blow You Away in 2023

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

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."

SignalFire believes that 50 million people will soon consider themselves to be creators.

2. 46.7 Million Creators Consider Themselves Amateurs

Although 50 million people consider themselves to be creators online, the vast bulk still believes themselves to be amateurs. Only the dedicated few can yet claim that being a creator is their full-time job. This will undoubtedly change, with creator numbers rising rapidly at the moment.

SignalFire splits creators into amateurs (46.7 million) and professionals (2 million +).  Notably, more than half the amateur creators (30 million) share their creativity on Instagram, followed by 12 million on YouTube, 2.7 million on Twitch, and 2 million on other social platforms. In contrast, you are more likely to find professional creators on YouTube (1 million), then Instagram (500,000), Twitch (300,000), and Other (200,000).

3. Content Creators Can Earn Over $50k a Year

One of the reasons for the rapid rise in being a creator is that it can be financially lucrative. Technically, creators come into the category of "small businesses". In a survey of 2,000 content creators, NeoReach found that 21% of respondents earn a comfortable annual income of at least $50,000. Meanwhile, 1.4% earn over $1 million a year. These people act as role models for their younger fans, ensuring that there will be even more creators in the future. 

4. The Influencer Marketing Industry is Valued at $16.4 Billion

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.

Clearly, most (if not all) influencers are creators of some form – whether it be through articles, images, or videos. Currently, the influencer marketing industry is worth $16.4 billion. According to Hootsuite, sponsored posts are worth $100 per 10,000 followers. This means that mega-influencers (at least 1 million followers) can earn as much as $10,000 on a single paid post.

5. 1.5 Million + Creators on OnlyFans

Taking a relatively broad definition of creators, then many of them now run channels on OnlyFans. As we wrote in a recent article, "OnlyFans is part of the new creator economy. It provides a ready market for creators to charge for their goods or services." Support for OnlyFans rose dramatically during the 2020 lockdowns. In 2019, they reported 60,000 content creators. The previously mentioned Forbes article, written in September 2020, increases this number to 450,000. Currently, it has over 1.5 million content creators.

6. 97.5% of YouTubers Don't Make Enough to Reach the U.S. Poverty Line

One of the reasons for YouTube's popularity with creators is that it has a sophisticated ad-sharing model. Around 55% of YouTube ad revenue goes to creators. In 2021, YouTube paid creators $15 billion. The problem is that, as good as that sounds, you still need significant people to watch the ads on your channel for you to make money. And, of course, most people opt to skip ads as soon as they can (which results in no income for the channel holder). 

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. 22 Thousand YouTube Creators Have More Than 1 Million Subscribers

There are approximately 37 million YouTube channels in total, so you do have stiff competition to succeed on that platform. Of course, many of these are set up by amateurs, who spend most of their YouTube time watching other people's content. Indeed, people, on average, create a YouTube channel and upload 500 hours of video every minute on average. 

This data comes from Socialblade, which only counts channels with at least five subscribers, so there are probably additional channels with very few, if any, subscribers.

As of March 2022, there are around 32,300 YouTube channels having over 1 million subscribers. With 229 million followers, Indian music network T-Series currently has the most YouTube subscribers in the world. YouTube Music follows with 158 million subscribers.

Of course, many creators have successful YouTube accounts with far fewer subscribers. Around 288,800 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. 300,000 + Twitch Streamers Are Either Partners or Affiliates 

Currently, Twitch has over 58,450 partners and 1.7 million total affiliates. August 2021 saw the highest increase of both new partners and affiliates with 212 and 177,201 users, respectively.

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 followers as many as 180 millions, 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 latest entrepreneurial venture - Mr. Beast Burgers, is a virtual restaurant where you can order a Mr.Beast Burger via an app and an affiliated restaurant will prepare your meal and will be delivered directly to your door.

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:

  1. YouTube – $4 billion 
  2. Etsy – $1,46 billion
  3. Instagram – $460 million
  4. WordPress – $348 million
  5. 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 Longest Live Stream is 268 Hours

YouTuber Hassan Suleiman AKA AboFlah, live streamed "The World's Coolest Winter", an initiative to raise humanitarian aid for refugees. During his livestream, AboFlah set the Guinness World record for longest stream; 268 hours, 14 minutes, and 20 seconds was the length and it was watched by 698,000 people on YouTube.

16. The Biggest Paid Publication on Substack is The Dispatch, Which Has Tens of Thousands of Subscribers

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.

Substack lists the 25 publications that earn the most money on the platform. The highest paying is Letters from an American by Heather Cox Richardson, which has hundreds of thousands of subscribers paying $5/month. This is followed by TK News by Matt Tabbi, which has tens of thousands of subscribers but only charges $5/month.

17. Stir Raises $4 Million to Help Online Collaborators Split Revenue

creator economy stir statistics

Stir is a service that lets creators on new online platforms manage their businesses. It received $4 million in seed funding. The company helps creators and journalists share revenue when they collaborate. One of Stir's main features, called "Collectives," helps creators share analytics, revenue, and back-office tools so they can split ad and merchandise revenue.

18. 52% of Creators Spent 0-39 Hours Per Month Devoted to Social Content

ConvertKit put together a 2022 State of the Creator Economy report. They found that almost 30% of full-time creators worked more than 40 hours a week on content in 2021. 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 Had 21 Billion Plays and 12 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 21 billion plays and 12 million fan conversions for independent artists.

20. $24 Million Estimated Monthly Payouts on Patreon

Estimated Monthly Payouts on Patreon

Graphtreon keeps daily updates of statistics relating to crowd funder, Patreon, which many creators use to source income.

Currently they estimate that the platform has over 13 million monthly pledges in the past year, amounting to $24.936 million. 218,979 have at least one patron.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an influencer do?

The majority of influencers (if not all influencers) are in some way or another creators. Influencers have the power to impact the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position and/or relationship with their audience. They actively engage with their following in a distinct niche, whether it be through articles, images, or videos.

Is Patreon popular?

According to Graphtreon that keeps daily updates of statistics about Patreon, the platform has generated over 13 million pledges in the past year. These pledges added up to over $24.4 million. Just over 218,979 creators have at least one patron.

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 on social content?

According to ConvertKit’s 2022 report, almost 30% of full-time creators worked more than 40 hours a week on content in 2021. 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. This year, almost 35% of creators are planning to work between 30 to 40 hours a week.