25 Creator Economy Statistics & Trends You Must Know in 2022

Creator Economy Statistics & Trends You Must Know

The online creator economy began with the rise of social media platforms. This led to the phenomenon of everyday people gaining followers and influencer status, allowing them to make a living online.

Since then, the creator economy has only grown. Today the creator economy has grown to include 50 million creators, hundreds of platforms, and a market size of over $100 billion.

If you’re interested in the creator economy, here are 25 must-know creator economy statistics and trends for 2022, covering market size, popular platforms, creator earnings, and emerging trends.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. The Creator Economy Is Worth $104.2 billion
  2. 2. The Creator Economy Investment Topped $5 Billion in 2021
  3. 3. 4.1 Trillion Hours Are Spent on Social Media Each Year
  4. 4. There Are 50 Million Online Creators
  5. 5. Females Lead the Way Representing 48% Of All Creators
  6. 6. 66% Of Creators Consider Themselves as Part-Time
  7. 7. 12% Of Full-Time Creators Make More Than $50k Per Year
  8. 8. Content Entrepreneurs Take 26 Months to Make a Full-Time Hire
  9. 9. 72% Of Creator’s Primary Monetization Comes From Instagram
  10. 10. 94% Of Creators Made at Least One Sponsored Post This Year
  11. 11. 46% Of Niche Creators Monetize by Selling Their Own Products
  12. 12. Creators Earnings Through Stripe Will Soon Pass $10 billion
  13. 13. 500,000 Instagram Accounts Have Over 100k Followers
  14. 14. 1 Million Youtube Creators Earn a Full-Time Living On The Platform
  15. 15. YouTube’s Top Earner, Mr Beast, Earned $54 Million in 2021
  16. 16. The Top TikTok Creators Make More Than $500,000 per Post
  17. 17. The Top 10 Clubhouse Influencers Have 54.2 Million Followers Combined
  18. 18. Twitch Currently Has 27,000 Partners
  19. 19. Top Creators Are Two Times More Likely to Use Subscriptions
  20. 20. There are 250,000 Active Patreon Creators and Over 8 million Patrons
  21. 21. Substack’s Top 10 Writers Made a Combined $20 Million in 2021
  22. 22. OnlyFans Has 130 Million Users and Now Supports 2 Million Creators
  23. 23. Udemy Paid out $177 Million in Instructor Payments in 2021
  24. 24. Kajabi Creators Have Earned Over $3.5 Billion
  25. 25. Top Creators Are 2x More Likely To Use Communities
  26. Conclusion
  27. Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

1. The Creator Economy Is Worth $104.2 billion

The number of social media users has swelled to 4.2 billion people, and today, they support a creator economy worth $104.2 billion.

The staggering growth of users and revenue is set to continue. In fact, a report from Talenthouse states that the creator economy is expected to grow at a CAGR of 35% through 2024.

Size of the Creator Economy
Size of the Creator Economy

2. The Creator Economy Investment Topped $5 Billion in 2021

In 2021, the total amount invested in the creator economy hit $5 billion, far exceeding the total investments made in previous years. Of the $5 billion raised, most of the capital funded creator platforms.

Some platforms that received funding in 2021 included Kajabi, MasterClass, Cameo, and Patreon. These companies received over $100 million in investment last year and have valuations greater than $1 billion.

PlatformTotal Funding (2021)Valuation
Kajabi$550 million$2.1 billion
MasterClass$225 million$2.75 billion
Patreon$155 million$4 billion
Cameo$100 million$1 billion
Substack$65 million$650 million
Circle$28.9 million$200 million
Gumroad$6 million$250 million
Creator economy platform investments in 2021

3. 4.1 Trillion Hours Are Spent on Social Media Each Year

There are over 4.62 billion social media users, and they’re estimated to spend over two hours a day on social media platforms, equating to over 4 trillion hours spent on these platforms each year.

TikTok and YouTube ranked first and second on the list of most-used platforms,  each receiving over 45 minutes of daily consumer time.

Amount of time spent on social media platforms (Source: Statista)
Amount of time spent on social media platforms (Source: Statista)

Additionally, the fight for consumer attention has seen large brands relocate advertising budgets from traditional print and television advertising to paying individual influencers to market products.

4. There Are 50 Million Online Creators

There are now 50 million individuals that use their influence, creativity, or skills to monetize their audience. The most popular platforms for online creators are Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok.

With such a high number of creators spread across many platforms, the competition to gain influence is fierce. Out of the 50 million creators, around 2 million are professional creators who make content full-time.

Number of creators (Source: Signalfire)
Number of creators (Source: Signalfire)

5. Females Lead the Way Representing 48% Of All Creators

Influencers are most likely to be young and female. In fact, 63% are Gen Z, and 48% of all creators are women. With widespread access to smartphones and the internet, becoming a creator has never been easier. This availability has empowered many young women to build and monetize an audience.  

6. 66% Of Creators Consider Themselves as Part-Time

Most influencers are amateur creators, with 66% considering themselves part-time creators.  Therefore, audience monetization isn’t their primary source of income. To supplement their full-time salary, many creators spend a few hours each week producing and publishing content.

With new social platforms emerging and millions of new users joining them each year, participating in the creator economy is becoming a viable side-hustle.

7. 12% Of Full-Time Creators Make More Than $50k Per Year

Turning your passion into a living wage is extremely difficult. Only 12% of full-time creators earn more than $50k annually, and 46% of full-time creators make less than $1,000.

A report found that 13% of full-time creators find the job “extremely stressful.” Due to extreme stress and job difficulty, most creators find it hard to turn their hobby into a full-time job.

8. Content Entrepreneurs Take 26 Months to Make a Full-Time Hire

Building an audience and learning how to best monetize it takes a lot of time. The average content entrepreneur waits 18 months to begin outsourcing tasks and 26 months before being able to afford to hire someone full-time.

Hiring journey for online creators (Source: The Tilt)
Hiring journey for online creators (Source: The Tilt)

Although content entrepreneurs take a long time to hire full-time, their path to profitability is quicker than most small businesses, making it an extremely attractive business model.

In fact, 75% of content entrepreneurs bootstrap their business: they do not take out loans, nor do they have credit card debt or receive outside funding.

9. 72% Of Creator’s Primary Monetization Comes From Instagram

Instagram is the most popular platform through which creators monetize their audience, with 72% of creators’ primary monetization coming from the platform. The most common way to monetize Instagram is through influencer marketing, including sponsored brand deals and product placements.

Creators’ Primary Platform (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)
Creators’ Primary Platform (Source: Influencer Marketing Hub)

Although Youtube is third on the list—with only 9.36% of creators using it as their primary monetization method—the platform’s share of full-time creators greatly outperforms its rivals.

According to a Signal Fire report, 50% of full-time creators earn their living through Youtube. They do this in several ways, including in-video ads, affiliate marketing, and promoting their physical product or service.

10. 94% Of Creators Made at Least One Sponsored Post This Year

Influencer marketing is a popular method to monetize an audience where creators would post a product image or review for a payment.

For instance, a 2021 report from NeoReach found that 94% of all influencers made at least one sponsored post last year.

Instead, 10% of the highest-earning influencers—those with an annual income greater than $1 million—were found to post sponsored content at least once a month.

11. 46% Of Niche Creators Monetize by Selling Their Own Products

There are hundreds of ways online influencers can monetize their audience. However, the most popular way by far is to sell physical products, and this method is used by 46% of niche creators.

Many Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube creators make more money from their physical product businesses than through advertising and sponsorships.

Aside from selling physical products, content creators can sell online courses, downloadable resources, and membership sites.

Channels earning creators revenue
Channels earning creators revenue

A recent trend suggests that online creators are increasingly moving towards the patronage model of monetization.

The patronage model sees followers subscribing or donating money to be a part of a community and to view exclusive content. The most popular patronage platforms are Patreon and Substack.

12. Creators Earnings Through Stripe Will Soon Pass $10 billion

Total creator earnings, facilitated by Stripe payment methods, will soon exceed $10 billion. Platforms contributing to Stripe’s total revenue include Teachable, Interval, and Luma.

The increase in aggregate earnings has enabled many influencers to become full-time creators. In 2021, the number of creators earning a living wage grew by 41%.

The study conducted by Stripe predicted a further increase in this number. This growth is predicted to be driven by more creators joining, more platforms being created, more audience monetization methods, and more geographies having access to Stripe.

The company, which supports payments for creators and companies in 54 countries, reported that the fastest-growing geographies were countries they had just expanded to, suggesting potentially large amounts of untapped growth.

13. 500,000 Instagram Accounts Have Over 100k Followers

Currently, Instagram has over 1 billion users, and 500,000 accounts have gained over 100,000 followers.

Instagram-follower-size-chart
Instagram follower size (Source: Mention)

To be a full-time creator, the minimum required follower count is 100k, putting you in the top 4% of the most followed accounts. Accounts of this size are expected to charge around $1,000 per post.

For reference, Sam Ushiro, a full-time creator, reportedly charged $1,500 per post when she had 283k followers.

14. 1 Million Youtube Creators Earn a Full-Time Living On The Platform

There are over 51 million channels on the platform, of which more than 29,000 have over 1 million subscribers, and 306,000 have over 100k subscribers.

When influencers cross the 100,000 subscribers mark, they will likely generate enough revenue to create full-time content.

Youtube channels with 100,000 subscribers that publish two weekly videos can expect to generate between $2,400 and $4,000 in ad revenue, according to CreditDonkey. 

When an influencer gains a large number of subscribers, they tend to look for other monetization methods to increase their income. The most popular ways to monetize a Youtube channel include affiliate marketing, brand deals, and selling their own digital or physical products.

15. YouTube’s Top Earner, Mr Beast, Earned $54 Million in 2021

Mr Beast is a trailblazer on the platform, consistently producing viral content that has earned him 96.9 million subscribers.

In the past ten years, Mr Beast has uploaded 722 videos. The content included cash giveaways, eating gold pizza, and spending 50 hours in solitary confinement.

Aside from the typical monetization methods that Youtube offers, he also started several businesses that leverage his audience.

In 2020, he opened Mr Beast Burger. This restaurant is only available through delivery apps, and it has quickly grown to over 1,000 kitchens in three countries.

16. The Top TikTok Creators Make More Than $500,000 per Post

In 2021, TikTok’s five highest-paid influencers generated $55.5 million in combined earnings. The number one content creator by earnings was Charlie D’Amelio, who earned an estimated $17.5 million.

The most popular methods for creators to monetize their audience are brand deals, sponsored content, and selling their physical products.

Although TikTok has a Creator Fund, it pays substantially less than the other monetization methods. According to our estimation, TikTok pays between $20 and $40 per 1 million views.

While sponsored posts remain the most popular monetization method, many TikTok stars have begun selling their physical products to increase their income. For example, the D’Amelio sisters have recently signed a brand deal with Hollister for over $27 million in 2021.

NameNumber of Followers2021 Earnings
Charlie D’Amelio133 million$17.5 million
Dixie D’Amelio57 million$10 million
Addison Rae86 million$8.5 million
Bella Poarch87 million$5 million
Josh Richards26 million$5 million
Top TikTok creators by earnings

17. The Top 10 Clubhouse Influencers Have 54.2 Million Followers Combined

Clubhouse is a social audio app founded in 2020. Users can create chat rooms on the platform where they can talk, stream live podcasts, and have discussions.

The top-ten influencers on Clubhouse have over 50 million followers combined.

Currently, the company doesn’t provide any methods to monetize audiences directly on the platform. However, influencers have worked out ways to leverage their audiences to generate earnings.

The most common monetization method is leveraging your club to advertise your business or sell ad space to companies. Top clubs have hundreds of thousands of members who receive notifications whenever their club hosts a room.

Instagram Marketing Secrets – Tips, Tricks & Guidance is a club with over 350,000 members and hosts rooms daily. It allows paid advertisers to sponsor rooms, co-host rooms, and co-mod rooms in exchange for a fee.

18. Twitch Currently Has 27,000 Partners

Twitch is a popular online streaming platform with over 8 million active streamers and 31 million daily viewers.

Popular streamers can apply to become Twitch partners, of whom there currently are more than 27,000.

To become partners, creators must complete the “Path to Partner Achievement” or “demonstrate large, engaged viewership/following on other services.”

Becoming a partner on Twitch has many benefits, including earning a share of the ads revenue, being able to accept virtual currency, and offering subscriptions to your fans.

19. Top Creators Are Two Times More Likely to Use Subscriptions

Thinkific, a leading online course platform, studied their highest-earning creators and found that top earners were twice as likely to offer subscriptions to customers.

This study demonstrated a wider trend in the ecosphere of knowledge entrepreneurs moving towards a subscription model, with 36% of creators saying they intend to start selling memberships in 2022.

Products creators want to sell in 2022
Products creators want to sell in 2022

Many platforms have been launched to support this model. Two of the most popular subscription platforms are Patreon and Substack.

20. There are 250,000 Active Patreon Creators and Over 8 million Patrons

Patreon is a membership platform that gives creators the tools to get paid. Patrons subscribe to influencers they like and, in return, receive exclusive content. The content can include blog posts, videos, live calls, and podcasts.

To date, Patreon has paid out over $3.5 billion to over 250,000 creators. The top influencer is True Crime Obsessed, which has 49,501 patrons and is estimated to generate over $130,000 per month. Patronage tiers range from $5 to $10.

21. Substack’s Top 10 Writers Made a Combined $20 Million in 2021

Creator earnings on Substack have experienced phenomenal growth in the past two years, with the top-ten writers now making a combined $20 million.

Top earnings of Substack Writers

With such high earning potential, the platform managed to attract a lot of high-quality talent. Today, writers from leading publications, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, have joined.

Top writers on the platform have tens of thousands of subscribers. Most writers opt not to charge their readers any subscription fees, and those that do typically charge between $5 and $20 per month.

22. OnlyFans Has 130 Million Users and Now Supports 2 Million Creators

OnlyFans is a subscription platform that allows creators to charge for viewing adult content. As of August 2021, the company had 130 million users and 2 million creators. The platform shot to notoriety for allowing the publication of pornographic content.

A New York Post report showed that top creators earn a staggering 270 times more than the average worker. Bella Thorne, a former Disney star turned into a leading OnlyFans creator, was the first person to generate $1 million in revenue in one day on the platform.

23. Udemy Paid out $177 Million in Instructor Payments in 2021

Udemy is an online learning and teaching platform founded in 2010 that hosts 65,000 instructors who produced over 183k courses.

In a 2021 investor report, Udemy said that it paid $177 million to instructors and that top instructors earn more than $1 million annually.

One of the platform’s top earners is Alan Rodrigues, who teaches over 20 courses, including Microsoft Azure and AWS Cloud Computing. He has taught over 363k students since joining.

The number of top instructors is set to grow over the next few years, with 94% of business leaders saying they expect their employees to pick up new skills, which presents an excellent opportunity for course creators.

24. Kajabi Creators Have Earned Over $3.5 Billion

Kajabi is a platform that provides knowledge entrepreneurs with monetization tools to sell courses, membership programs, and podcasts.

The company takes a different approach to pricing than platforms like Patreon. Instead of charging a fixed percentage fee on each sale, they charge a monthly subscription fee.

Kajabi Heroes have already been paid over $3.5 billion and are on track to earn $1.7 billion this year—of which course sales generated 41% of the earnings.

With the trend towards digital products, courses, and memberships increasing, the Kajabi platform is expected to continue rising in popularity.

25. Top Creators Are 2x More Likely To Use Communities

Online communities have become the hottest trend in recent years, with creators trying to connect with their community members more intimately. A Thinkific report found that the most successful creators are twice as likely to build a community.

Various online community platforms exist, but the most popular tool is Facebook Groups, which hosts 78% of all online communities across tens of millions of groups.

Another trend is to sell access to communities. According to a Kajabi report, 28% of creators on the platform intend to start selling online communities.

Conclusion

There is no stopping the incredible growth of these online ecosystems, and we are sure our general creator economy statistics helped you understand where these trends are heading.

That’s the complete round-up of the 25 most important creator economy statistics and trends in 2022.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!

Frequently Asked Questions