Adobe report: Online influencers now earning as much as lawyers

Female content creator filming herself on a mobile phone behind a desk
(Image credit: Unsplash / Jenny Ueberberg)

Adobe has revealed that the insatiable appetite for content is fuelling massive growth in the global creator economy.

A new report published by the VFX and video editing software developer suggests 165 million creators have joined the worldwide creator economy in the last two years, bringing the total to 303 million.

The study also shows that, while influencers make up a small slice (15%) of all content creators, they’re raking in the big bucks. “More than half (51%) of influencers are in the top income bracket or the US equivalent of bringing in over household income of $100K+,” Adobe reported

Why create content?  

In a bid to understand how creativity is changing around the world, the firm behind Photoshop and After Effects surveyed 9,000 content creators across US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil.

Content creation remains a side hustle for the 58% of creators still in full-time employment. Money, the survey suggests, is not the single driving factor for the explosion of online content. 

With 54% of respondents engaged in photography, 30% in creative writing, and 27% in painting and drawing, visual arts takes precedence in modern online space. Little wonder, then, content creators declared the desire to express themselves, have fun, and explore passions as their top motivations.  

Meanwhile, 47% agreed that using or creating social content is a top necessity for mental health. Advancing social causes through content creation is also lauded.

Long-term, however, around 40% of those surveyed want to become business owners, earning money from their online content - and that takes time. Adobe says influencers typically spend 15 hours a week developing and marketing content, while content creators spend 9 hours a week on their output.

The hard work evidently pays off. On average, global creators earn around $61 per hour and influencers take home $81 per hour. It’s UK influencers who earn the most ($146.86 p/h), versus Germany ($126.61p/h) and the US ($125.43p/h). That’s a salary comparable with software engineers and lawyers.

“The growth in the number of creators in the UK and globally is exponential, demonstrating the creative empowerment people now feel to follow their ambitions and express themselves online,” said Simon Morris, Vice President of Marketing, EMEA and APAC at Adobe.

“There’s little doubt that the events of the past two years have influenced this pace of growth, signaling that the democratization of creativity is changing the where, when, how and why we create and draw inspiration. Creators have the power to shape our economy and culture, forging lucrative and successful careers.”

Today, 23% of the world now describe themselves as content creators. It’s 26% and 24% in the US and UK. 

As online content creation is democratized, we’re seeing a dramatic shift not dissimilar to the disintegration of the Hollywood studio system. Mass audiences used to watch content produced by a famous minority. Now, many are as heavily invested in producing content as they are experiencing it. And they want to make it their way. 

Steve Clark
B2B Editor - Creative & Hardware

Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.