The creator economy is a massive and growing industry. It is composed of the social media content creators on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and more and the different brands that operate alongside them. It has been an industry that has experienced meteoric growth, with many stating that its future is incredibly bright.
Yahoo projects the creator economy to be worth over $100 billion and encompass over 50 million global. Influencer marketing is a core part of the creator economy, with the growth of each industry inherently tied together. The creator economy has gone from being something that wasn’t established to a massive industry that employs a huge number of people worldwide within a matter of years.
It has been incredible growth, and new brands, creators, and platforms are springing up every day that enhance it. For example, TikTok wasn’t a major player five years ago. Now, according to the same Yahoo report, it is the platform favored by the most content creators, brings new influencers into the limelight every day, and TikTok influencer marketing is a serious moneymaker.
While the growth has been astronomical, many wonder if the growth of the creator economy is sustainable. Is this something that will last long-term? Whenever an industry grows so rapidly, it is only natural to question what the future holds. Let’s look at some challenges the creator economy faces and answer whether we believe this growth can last.
Challenges the Creator Economy Faces
While the creator economy has gone from an unknown industry to a massive source of economic growth, that doesn’t mean that the industry doesn’t have any problems. There are several challenges that the industry faces on its pathway to sustaining growth. Let’s look at some of these current challenges that the industry faces.
One of the biggest challenges facing the creator economy is that so many people are competing for a finite amount of money, particularly in the realm of influencers. Everyone wants to be an influencer. As mentioned before, over 50 million people consider themselves content creators, and more arrive every day. According to Digital Information World, influencers and YouTuber ranked second and third in a US study about the most desirable job taken by children between 11 and 16.
This makes it less and less attainable to earn a living as an influencer because the industry might not be able to grow fast enough to accommodate so many creators. According to Tech Crunch, only 12% of full-time creators make over $50,000 a year from their online job, and 59% of beginner creators haven’t even monetized yet.
The current system might not be ideal for creators with low followings or those that are just starting. This might hurt brands, as higher-value influencers’ prices will go up. Affordability is one of the best aspects of the creator economy, and losing that would hurt the industry.
Is Growth Still Sustainable?
While these challenges are important to note, they don’t necessarily dim the outlook for the creator economy. While the rate the industry has been growing is likely unsustainable, that is because we’ve been witnessing the birth of a major industry. It can’t keep growing so dramatically forever, and eventually, that growth will slow down and align with other industries.
However, that doesn’t mean the industry will decline. The creator economy is an industry built for the future. Social commerce increases every year, and in some countries like China, e-commerce has surpassed in-person retail. The creator economy is essential to e-commerce. As people up the number of purchases they make online every year, the creator economy will continue to grow.
Even if the industry is becoming overcrowded in the influencer area, that doesn’t necessarily hurt brands and companies operating in the creator economy. Companies that use influencers as part of their business model will have more options to choose from than ever before; the only problem will be filtering through all the options to find reliable ones. It isn’t necessarily a bad problem to have.
The creator economy has grown so rapidly that it has at times felt like the Wild West. While that type of growth isn’t sustainable, the ecosystem is still being flushed out. People are only increasing their dependency on social media and the content creators on those platforms. That isn’t likely to change any time shortly. This means that the growth of the creator economy is likely very sustainable.
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