Audience Growth

40 Creator Economy Statistics You Need To Know in 2023

by Nicholas Bouchard · Updated Sep 29, 2023

Do you know who said the classic line, “Content is king?” Names like Gary Vaynerchuk or Logan Paul might pop into your head, but it was actually from Bill Gates — in 1996. This was the title of an essay in which Gates predicted that in the future, much of the money generated by the internet would come from content creation.

Nearly 30 years later, Gates has been proven right. A veritable army of content creators pumps out more content than any single person could watch in a lifetime, every single day

Want more proof that content is king? We’ve collected some of the most telling stats that highlight the rapid growth of the creator economy, as well as specific platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

creator economy statistics content creators influencers

What is the creator economy?

The term “creator economy” refers to the now-massive industry that’s made up of individuals using their talent, expertise, and unique personality to create content, build an audience online, and grow their own businesses. There are many different types of creators, ranging from bloggers, video creators, and influencers, to course creators, podcasters, and even Twitch streamers.

But apart from those that are producing content, the creator economy also comprises of brands that work with creators, as well as numerous platforms and startups that support their content and help them make money online.

Curious to know just how big the creator economy is, and where it’s headed towards? Let’s dive into the must-know stats.

Top 40 creator economy statistics to know

How big is the creator economy?

creator economy statistics content creators influencers

1. There are over 200 million creators worldwide.

Creators around the world are using their skills, expertise, and creativity to attract an audience and monetize them. Of these creators, only about 2% (or 4 million of them) have more than 100,000 followers, while most creators (about 140 million of them globally) have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers.

Source: Linktree

2. The creator economy is worth $250 billion in 2023.

For context, some of the biggest industries in the U.S. — from commercial banking to supermarkets — are worth around $700 billion each. So while the creator economy isn’t unseating any top industry any time soon, it’s growing market is a strong signal that it’s gone mainstream.

Source: Goldman Sachs

3. The creator economy is expected to nearly double in market size by 2027.

As big as the creator economy already is today, some analysts are saying it could grow to $480 billion. That’s despite the slowdown in various markets and the potential risk of a recession.

So, if you’re an aspiring content creator who’s sitting on the sidelines, trying to figure out if now’s a good time to start, don’t hesitate to join in!

Source: Goldman Sachs

4. There are about 4.2 billion social media users out there.

If you want to become a content creator, there’s never been a bigger market for it. No matter what your niche, passion, or specialty is, there’s an audience out there for you. It’s a big pie, and you can have your piece.

Source: Linktree

5. About 500 million people are part of the passion economy globally.

Linktree defines the passion economy as being made up of people who “monetize their individuality or non-commoditized skills through digital platforms.” They’re not necessarily influencers or content creators with massive followings, but they use the internet to make money from their skills in a similar way.

Source: Linktree

6. American creator economy startups raised 79% less money at the end of 2022 than the previous year.

Startups often need to raise money to get their awesome ideas to the market. And that money usually comes from venture capitalists, private equity firms, and other groups with similarly deep pockets.

The decrease in funding in creator economy startups could be a symptom of a broad decline in the tech market as a whole. However, it’s still something to watch out for, as these startups are often behind the next big platforms for publishing content or monetizing your audience.

Source: The Information


Who makes up the creator economy?

creator economy statistics content creators influencers

7. 52% of content creators are men.

That leaves 47% of creators who are women, and 1% who don’t identify as either. Content creation is anyone’s game, and it’s nice to see that the creator economy isn’t limited to any one gender.

Source: Adobe

8. Only 13% of content creators are Gen Z.

Despite the stereotypes, Gen Zers are far from being the most dominant generation in the creator economy. That title actually belongs to the millennials, who make up 41% of all content creators. Right behind them are Gen X at 30%, and boomers (and older generations) at 15%. That’s right, there are more boomers making content than Gen Z.

Source: Adobe

9. 67% of creators have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers.

The vast majority of creators don’t have a massive following. Most of them have a smaller, dedicated audience. Only 21% of creators have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, while 2% have over 100,000 followers. That means you don’t need a huge following to be a content creator.

Source: Linktree

10. Almost one in four people is a content creator.

That’s how big the creator economy has become. There’s no shortage of niches to create content about, and every creator can bring their own twist to even the most talked-about topics.

Source: Adobe

11. Half of all content creators started creating to express themselves.

No, not everyone’s in it for the money — that usually comes after. For many creators, producing content is a way to explore their passions, have some fun, and learn about a side of themselves that might go unnoticed in their daily lives.

Source: Adobe

Sure, there are celebrity creators like MrBeast and the D’Amelios sisters running massive empires off the back of their content, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some creators — even if they’ve been able to make some money — aren’t in it to become business moguls.

Source: Adobe

13. 66% of creators do it part-time.

You don’t need to invest all of your time into creating content, especially when you’re just starting out. Two-thirds of creators consider themselves part-timers, and 43% spend five hours per week or less creating content. To build a worthwhile side hustle, you don’t necessarily need to put a ton of time into being a content creator.

Source: Linktree

14. 58% of content creators have a full-time job.

That’s on top of any time they’d spend creating content! While there are more and more full-time creators out there, the majority of creators still work a 9-5 job to support their income. So, don’t worry about quitting your job just yet. Start creating content as a side hustle, and see where it takes you.

Source: Adobe


How do creators make money?

creator economy statistics content creators influencers

15. 28% of creators make money through paid promotions and partnerships.

These are the sponsored bits you’ll see at the beginning of YouTube videos, the TikToks all about a specific product, or the Instagram posts promoting a brand. They’re so common now that a lot of platforms have tags creators need to use when promoting a product.

Source: Adobe

16. In 2023, brands are spending a total of $6 billion on influencer marketing.

With influencer marketing, brands pay creators to promote their product in one way or another. And $6 billion is a huge amount of money, especially at a time when marketing budgets are getting cut left and right. Despite challenges facing a number of industries, marketers seem to think that influencers are still worth the spend.

Source: Goldman Sachs

17. 70% of creators earn less than 10% of their total income from brand partnerships.

While brand deals are still ubiquitous, it’s worth noting that monetization trends in the creator economy have steadily been shifting away from brand partnerships. It seems creators are looking to take more control of their revenue streams and own their audiences

Source: Linktree

18. 55% of creators said that finding and managing brand deals are their biggest challenges.

As lucrative as brand sponsorships can be, they can be a headache. According to this 2023 creator economy report, the next biggest challenge creators face is managing their finances, but only 11.6% of creators said that’s more challenging than finding brand deals.

Source: The Influencer Marketing Factory

19. 25% of creators earn revenue from affiliate marketing.

Of that number, 15% are creators with a special niche, compared to 10% who don’t. It makes sense when you think about it. Any creator can add affiliate links to their content, but it’s a lot more effective when you can send your audience to more specific products — especially if you know more about their interests.

Source: Linktree

20. 35% of creators earn money through ad revenue on online platforms.

Ad revenue has been one of the most popular income streams for content creators. On most platforms, you only need a little bit of traction (usually reaching a certain amount of views or followers) to be eligible for this income stream, so it’s often one of the first ways content creators monetize their audience.

Source: Adobe

21. 67% of content creators who’ve monetized their audience sell some kind of product.

That number splits pretty evenly between creators who sell products through an online marketplace like Etsy (33%), and those who sell directly through their own website (31%). Selling products through physical stores is a bit less popular (28%).

Source: Adobe

22. 50% of social media users tipped a content creator in 2023.

Whatever the platform, about half of users want to donate directly to creators they like — without the intermediary of a product or a platform. That’s down from 63% in 2021, and most users (60%) tip $10 or less. So while it’s not a huge revenue stream for creators, it’s not one to ignore.

Source: The Influencer Marketing Factory

23. 45% of creators have multiple income streams.

Gone are the days when you could just turn on YouTube Ads and rake in the dough. These days, many content creators have to build multiple streams of income to make a decent living. The silver lining? It’s not that hard to diversify your income streams.

Source: Thinkific

24. Creators can make as much as $900,000 selling digital products.

Ali Abdaal recently shared how much income he generated as a content creator in 2022. Through selling various digital products, Abdaal earned $957,619, easily putting him among the top-earning creators. Most of his digital products are online courses, but he’s also created a website theme that brought in a bit of money.

Source: Ali Abdaal

Want to cash in on digital products? Our AI-powered tool helps you create and sell digital products, easily. Try The Leap for free now.

25. 26% of creators monetize photography or photo editing.

That includes receiving payments for photography gigs, getting commissions, or selling photos. Creative writing (16%) and visual arts (15%) were the next most popular, while podcasting (6%) was the least monetized activity.

Source: Adobe


How much money do creators make?

26. The top-earning creator on Forbes‘ Top Creators 2022 list was MrBeast, who made $54 million.

It’s probably not a huge shock that MrBeast topped the Forbes list. Between his massive YouTube channel (boasting 150 million subscribers), his burger chain, and his other ventures, the creator is raking it in through multiple revenue streams.

Source: Forbes

27. $200,000 in yearly earnings gave Vivian Tu the #50 spot on the Forbes Top Creators 2022 list.

Vivian Tu (aka Your Rich BFF) is a creator who specializes in financial education, teaching her audience about credit card debt, saving for retirement, and more. With major brand deals under her belt, like partnerships with Credit Karma, lululemon, and Invesco, she’s made her way onto the Forbes list.

Source: Forbes

28. More than half (59%) of beginner creators haven’t made more than $100 in a year.

And more than a third don’t make more than $1,000. Content creation is a broad market, and anyone can get started relatively quickly. But that also means it can be a bit of a saturated market. If you go in without a plan, it can be a struggle to find your audience and find the right way to monetize them.

Source: Linktree

29. Only about 4% of creators make more than $100,000 a year.

Just because your feed is full of Instagram influencers seemingly living the life doesn’t mean that’s the reality for most creators. While it’s easy to get started as a content creator, making six figures or more takes a lot of effort — and some knowledge, too. 

Source: Goldman Sachs

30. The top five creators on TikTok made a total of $46 million in 2021.

Over the last few years, TikTok has become one of the biggest creator platforms for audience and revenue growth. Charli D’Amelio, one of the top creators on TikTok, earned $17.5 million in 2021.

Source: Forbes

31. 52% of creators who make between $50,000 and $100,000 spend less than 10 hours creating content.

Not only can you create part-time, but you can also potentially make big bucks doing it. More than half of creators who make a full-time salary doing it spend less than 10 hours a week making content. That’s a quarter of the normal 40-hour work week. 

Source: Linktree

32. The top 10 highest earning authors on Substack collectively make $20 million per year.

Substack is a platform where writers can monetize a paid newsletter. Founded only in 2017, it’s becoming one of the fastest growing platforms in the creator economy. Together, the top 10 authors on the platform earn $20 million a year.

Source: Backlinko

33. Content creators earn an average of $59 per hour.

That’s almost eight times the U.S. federal minimum wage! Note that this is an average, so creators making millions of dollars a year are obviously going to skew this number upward. But it’s good to know there’s a lucrative career out there for content creators ready to make the leap.

Source: Adobe


creator economy statistics content creators influencers

34. 94.5% of creators are using AI for at least one task.

These tasks include editing content, generating images and videos, creating captions for accessibility, and brainstorming content. It seems very few creators aren’t using AI at all, which means AI tools aren’t just great for creators, but you might actually be at a disadvantage if you don’t start using them.

Source: The Influencer Marketing Factory

35. 48% of social media users said they’re likely to pay for premium subscriptions.

While subscriptions and paywalled content aren’t necessarily the most common income streams for content creators, you should absolutely be watching them. Nearly every platform has its own built-in subscription service now, and users are ready to pay for exclusive content.

Source: The Influencer Marketing Factory

36. More than 70% of people are considering pursuing additional income streams.

That’s not just creators, but people in general. That means content creators definitely shouldn’t be limiting themselves to a single source of revenue. While it’s a lot easier to rely on your favorite content creation platform’s built-in revenue, it’s far from the best way to go about things. Start diversifying!

Source: Thinkific

37. Brands could spend up to $7 billion on influencer marketing by 2024.

That’s an overall increase of about 17% over a single year, which should put influencers at ease. After all, although brand deals might seem more scarce, there’s still a ton of money being pumped into the creator economy.

Source: Goldman Sachs

38. More than twice as many social media users want educational content rather than entertainment.

There was a time when being a content creator was all about filming over-the-top pranks. But with the rise of educational content on almost every platform, more and more people are turning to creators to learn new things — and that means they need creator educators that’ll teach them.

Source: Thinkific

39. 51% of creators planned to offer online courses in 2022.

This is a 20% increase from the previous year, showing that courses are becoming more popular with creators as a revenue stream. It definitely helps that more platforms have emerged that allow creators to offer them.

Source: Thinkific

40. Two out of three people carve out time for learning each month.

And for younger generations, it’s four out of five. That means creators who specialize in online learning — especially bite-sized educational content — can expect a growing market in coming years.

Source: Thinkific

Make your mark in the creator economy!

The advent of the creator economy has created entirely new opportunities for people who are passionate about making content. There’s more than one way to get a piece of the content pie, and these statistics show that you can make it big no matter what your platform of choice is. Which statistics are going to inform your strategy?

FAQ

What is the creator economy, and how big is it?

Creator economy” is a term that refers to the millions of creators, the hundreds of businesses, and the numerous platforms and startups that make up the content creation industry. Make no mistake — it’s become a full-fledged industry.

According to Goldman Sachs, the creator economy is worth about $250 billion in 2023. For context, that’s about a third of the size of commercial banking in the U.S. It’s a massive, international industry that’s projected to grow even bigger in the next few years.

How many part-time creators are there?

According to Linktree’s survey of 9,500 creators, 66% of content creators consider themselves part-time creators. That means they’re putting less time into creating content than they would at a full-time job.

And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That only means you don’t need to make the jump to full-time content creation unless it makes sense for you. You can absolutely start a lucrative content creation career with only a few hours a week — no need to burn yourself out.

How much money can you make as a creator?

It depends on a few factors, like how long you’ve been a creator, how much time you spend on your content each week, and what kind of niche you’re creating content for.

While some of the top earners — like MrBeast and Charli D’Amelio — can earn up to eight figures, most creators probably won’t make that much.

When you start out, it’s normal to make less than $1,000 in your first year. But as long as you stick with it, you have a solid chance to earn more money as you keep creating. According to Adobe’s Monetization in the Creator Economy Report, four out of 10 creators who monetize their content made more money than they did two years ago.

What are the best platforms for content creators?

According to a survey of 660 content creators conducted by The Influencer Marketing Factory, two platforms stand out from the rest: YouTube and TikTok.

Not only did a good chunk of content creators name them as their favorite platforms (28% for TikTok and 23% for YouTube), but they’re also the most lucrative. 26% of content creators said they made the most money on TikTok, and another 26% said YouTube made them the most.

So if you’re a content creator who isn’t sure where to start, you might want to figure out if you’re best at long-form or short-form content. That’ll help you choose between the two platforms.

Should content creators use AI?

Generative AI, which refers to the use artificial intelligence to create content based on user prompts, is a hot topic right now. That’s enough to make creators wonder if they should be adding AI to their content creation process.

In that same survey from The Influencer Marketing Factory, 94.5% of content creators said they were already using AI tools for at least one task. Most of them are using it to edit content (21%), generate images and videos (20.9%), or generate text and captions for accessibility (19%). So, if you’re a creator, you should probably be at least trying AI out.

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Further reading

Nicholas Bouchard
About the author

Nicholas Bouchard

Nick Bouchard is a content writer and marketer with a passion for creation. His hobbies range from writing fiction to wrestling. He can only be photographed in national parks and on mountains, and pictures of him usually come out blurry. Some wonder if he even exists at all.
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