5 things to know about the creator economy in 2023

The creator economy could be a more than $100 billion industry, but market sizing is difficult

There is no industrywide definition for the constantly evolving space. One commonly cited figure sizes the creator economy at $104.2 billion in mid-2022.

Meanwhile, the leading companies across the top 10 types of creator economy services collectively brought in roughly $9.50 billion in revenues in 2022, per influencer marketing software company NeoReach. But that’s just a small slice of the market, and there is a long tail of other creator-focused companies that bring in revenues.

Investment dropped by around $1.5 billion in less than two years

VC funding for creator economy startups slowed to just $270 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, down from a peak of $1.70 billion in the second quarter of 2021, per The Information’s “Creator Economy Database.” That’s led some industry experts to assert that the creator economy was overblown.

Brands should prepare for the funding chill to continue into 2023 as economic conditions remain tough, but remember that investment is only one part of the picture.

“It’s called the creator economy, not the investor economy,” said Brendan Gahan, partner and chief social officer at Mekanism.

There could be up to 303 million creators worldwide

Estimates of the number of creators worldwide vary greatly, depending on how the term “creator” is defined and the date of the study.

  • VC firm SignalFire’s 2020 estimate of 50 million is on the low end of the spectrum and is still widely cited in major media.
  • An August 2022 study by Adobe suggests that the number of creators could be much higher, at 303 million—and over half of those joined the creator economy since 2020.

Many creators want to be more than influencers

Brand sponsorships will remain most creators’ No. 1 revenue stream in 2023. But many creators are now branching out from promoting brands to developing brands of their own. 

After generating nearly $250 million in sales last year, YouTube creators Logan Paul and KSI’s energy drink Prime became the first creator-led brand to have a Super Bowl commercial this month. 

Prime’s success will inspire other creators to follow suit. But launching a business requires a different mindset than creating content, said Alessandro Bogliari, founder and CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory, suggesting that not every creator will go that route. As a result, brands will continue to be an integral part of creator monetization this year.

De-influencing is still influencing

De-influencing is the creator trend of the moment: Creators are using their platforms to tell their audiences what not to buy. It’s hard not to see #deinfluencing as a response to #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, which encourages people to impulse buy goods featured in viral creator videos. But de-influencing is still influencing—it’s just been adapted to resonate with consumers during an economic downturn. 

Still, this is a good time for marketers to reevaluate their creator strategies to make sure that they are working with the right creators and not oversaturating their audiences with sponsored content.

  • Views of TikTok videos tagged with #deinfluencing surged from 23.1 million to 164.6 million between January 26 and February 15, per data from Trendpop.
  • Growth in views of TikTok videos tagged with #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has slowed, but still rose by at least 100 million per day during the same time frame.

For more on how the creator economy will evolve this year, PRO subscribers should look out for our upcoming report, “Creator Economy Explainer,” publishing in mid-March.


This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.

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