165 Million People Have Joined the Creator Economy Since 2020 Says Adobe Study

The study defines influencers as a subset of creators with five thousand followers or more who leverage social media to influence their audience. 

Adobe has released new insights on the Creator Economy as part of its “Future of Creativity” study of people who are monetizing their content, goods, and services online by leveraging their own creativity, talents, and passions.

According to the findings that group grew by more than 165 million creators over the past two years to 303 million creators globally. Additionally, the study said that the growing Creator Economy “is reshaping every aspect of culture and society, from the future of work to social causes to mental health.”

“The unprecedented growth of the Creator Economy provides a platform for everyone to be a creator. Individuals, solopreneurs, small business owners and content creators can now express themselves and explore creative and artistic pursuits in new ways,” said Scott Belsky, chief product officer and Executive Vice President of Adobe Creative Cloud.


“Increasingly, creators from all walks of life are turning their creative inspirations and passions into new careers and businesses supported by Adobe’s creative tools.”

The study specifically looked at how creativity is changing across the U.S., U.K., Spain, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil and defines creators as professionals and non-professionals creating original content for their jobs or passions including designers, photographers, filmmakers, illustrators, hobbyists and more.

The study defines influencers as a subset of creators with five thousand followers or more who leverage social media to influence their audience.


Key takeaways

The Creator Economy Is Diverse & Thriving

Since 2020, the creator economy has grown exponentially.

  • More than 165 million creators joined the Creator Economy since 2020, with significant growth across all markets.
  • In the U.S. alone, the Creator Economy grew by 34 million new creators (40%). Brazil (+73 million new creators), South Korea (+11 million) and Spain (+10 million) also emerged as hot spots for creativity.
  • One in four people (23%) are creators contributing photography, videography, creative writing and more to online spaces including social media platforms and blogs.
  • Millennials represent 42% of the Creator Economy. By comparison, Gen Z represents 14%.
  • 48% of creators are universally motivated by the same goal: freedom of expression. Less than one-third of creators (26%) are motivated by money.
  • Influencers make up only 14% of the global creator economy.

Redefining The Future of Work

The Creator Economy has unlocked new full- and part-time professional opportunities, particularly for Gen Z and millennials who are drawn to less traditional careers. The study found that content creation can be a source of income, but it takes time and commitment to be successful and while it remains a side hustle for most, many creators aspire to do more.

  • Two in five influencers were motivated to start creating by the possibility of turning it into a career.
  • 17% of creators are business owners, while 39% aspire to become a business owner one day.
  • For the majority of creators, creating is a hobby or side hustle. Six in 10 creators have full-time jobs.

Image via Adobe

Creators are Key to Advancing Social Causes Online

Creators embrace the opportunity to advance conversations around social causes online, taking action to support ones that are important to them personally.

  • Nearly all (95%) of creators take action to advance or support causes that are important to them.
  • Food and housing security (62%), social justice (59%) and climate change (58%) top the list of causes most important to creators around the globe.
  • By using their creativity and influence to advance social causes, creators believe they can drive awareness (51%), give a voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one (49%) and make it easier to voice opinions on social causes (47%).

Creators and Mental Health

The study revealed the more time creators spend creating and sharing content, the happier they feel. This is the opposite of social media consumers, who studies have shown can experience negative effects from social media use.

  • Creators who make daily content and/or spend 10+ hours per week creating report being happiest overall.
  • Most creators (69%) and influencers (84%) say creating and sharing online content is a creative outlet they can’t find elsewhere.
  • One in two influencers say using social media or creating social content is more important to their mental health than listening to music (31%), exercising (30%) and going outside in nature (27%).

Adobe’s study, Future of Creativity: Creators in the Creator Economy, can be found in full here.

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