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More Than 50% of Nonprofessional U.S. Creators Now Monetize Their Content, Adobe Study Finds

Creator Economy Study - Keyboard
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A study funded by Adobe sheds new light on the creator economy, indicating that not only are a large number of people earning money from their original content creations but also that their earning power has grown.

Adobe’s “Future of Creativity” study, released Monday, examined how nonprofessional creators — who engage in creative activities as a hobby or side pursuit, in contrast to full-time creators — are monetizing their content. The study found that almost half of non-professional creators (48%) now earn money from their creative activities, with higher percentages in Brazil (59%), the U.S. (53%), Germany (51%), U.K. (51%) and South Korea (51%).

Overall, 77% of creators who monetize their content say only started doing so within the past year — and 48% say that revenue represents more than half of their monthly income. Additionally, according to the study, creators are optimistic about the growing metaverse: 68% of creators expect the metaverse will bring new job opportunities in the future.

Other highlights from Adobe’s creator study:

  • Four out 10 monetizers are making more money now than they were two years ago; of those, eight
    in 10 anticipate earning even more in the next two years.
  • Monetizers across all creative activities earn at least $43 per hour — six times the U.S. minimum wage ($7.25/hour).
  • Half (49%) of Gen Z monetizers between 16 and 18 years old say they would prefer to start their own
    creative businesses rather than attend college. Gen Z monetizers earn higher hourly rates despite spending similar amounts of time on creative activities, averaging $58 per hour for 11 hours of work per week, whereas overall monetizers average $51 per hour in earnings for the same amount of work.
  • 77% of creators say they’ve explored the metaverse at least once, and 34% say they’re already participating weekly, through early metaverse experiences including gaming, socializing, and shopping. Over half (52%) of creators who participate in the metaverse weekly say they’re already working toward owning their own creative businesses.

Adobe’s study is based on a survey of about 9,000 online non-professional creators in May 2022, in nine regions (the U.S., UK, Spain, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil). “Creators” were defined as non-professionals having participated in creative activities (such as photography, creative writing, and original social media content creation) and posting, sharing or promoting their work from these activities online at least monthly with the goal of growing their social presence.

Obviously, Adobe has a business interest in promoting the report’s findings, given that it sells software and services to independent creators, such as the Adobe Express graphics and design app and the Creative Cloud suite of tools. “The rapid expansion of the creator economy has expanded increasing opportunities for creators to monetize their creative talents, turning their passions into new careers and businesses,” said Ashley Still, SVP, digital media marketing, strategy and global partnerships at Adobe.

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