Creator Economy

How COVID Became the Catalyst for a Wave of New Creators

By Editorial Staff

It’s been over a year since COVID was declared a pandemic and a lot has changed about our lives since then. With everyone stuck at home, internet and social media usage went up. And with that increase in social media usage came a whole wave of new creators to keep an eye out for. But while new creators were on the rise, the creator economy still took a massive hit at the beginning of COVID. Fortunately, as people began to adjust to life in quarantine, creators found new ways to create.

What is the Creator Economy?

Arguably, advertising makes the world go round. Household spending makes up for 70% of the US economy today, and advertising plays a major role in this. Many brands have been built on TV advertising, but with the advent of social media came a new medium for advertising. Thus, the creator economy was born. The Creator Economy is basically a way that social media creators can make money directly from their audience. For example, influencer brand deals and partnerships, in-app shopping, etc.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, $800 million in industry growth was recorded from a mere 31 startup investments since October of 2020, meaning the Creator Economy is a new force to be reckoned with. Additionally, creators who have been building an audience for 4 or more years can earn over $20K annually. The entire Creator Economy is estimated to be worth around $104.2 Billion, with the potential to grow in the future.

 Want to learn more about the Creator Economy? Check out this blog for the latest insights from the Creators themselves.

Impact of COVID on the Creator Economy

 With the onset of lockdown, creators everywhere had to change the way they create. Staying home is the new norm, and the impact this had on creators, both new and old, depended on their industry. The travel and fashion industries took a huge hit, while fitness and wellness influencers saw engagement surges. Gyms were closed and many had to find new ways to exercise, so they turned to home workouts on YouTube and TikTok.


#plankchallenge with my big bro @evan_frazier16haha

♬ #PlankChallenge – (Null)

Some brands even delayed campaigns to make adjustments to influencer work that required travel or on-site production, while others had to adjust campaigns that now felt out of touch with our new reality. Many influencers lost brand deals when the pandemic began, but thankfully, a year into this post-pandemic world, creators and brands have found new ways to make content.

Social media users grew in 2020

One defining factor of this age is almost worldwide access to the internet. The number of people who use the internet grew to over 4.6 billion, about 60% of the world’s population, with social media users surpassing 4.2 billion, a nearly 10% increase from last year. In a March 2020 survey of social media users in the US, 43.1 percent of people responded saying their Instagram use would rise if they were confined to their homes due to COVID. A year later, as we know most people were confined to their homes at least at some point, it is likely these 43.1% of people did just that.

Conducted between late March and early May, the Harris Poll found that between 46% and 51% of US adults were using social media more since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. People’s social media usage has likely changed since everyone has begun returning to some sense of normalcy.

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People turned to social media for community 

Stuck at home with nothing to do, people turned to social media for community and thus, quarantine became a catalyst for a wave of new creators on social media like TikTok and Instagram. For many stuck at home, social media was the only way to be with their friends and family. During a time when it was impossible, or rather not recommended, to be in the same room with your loved ones, social media gave people an outlet, a way to interact with people that wasn’t just talking on the phone or texting.

Social media itself is intended for networking purposes. It’s how a large part of our population keep up with each other, so why not turn to it when you’re stuck home alone for weeks at a time? 


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A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial)

The pandemic also marked a wave of social justice, with movements like Black Lives Matter gaining attention in May 2020 after the death of George Floyd. People not only needed community, but an outlet for discussion. Suddenly, people were being more conscious of what they posted, were having important discussions surrounding race and politics, and social media became a prime source for the latest news on both politics, with the 2020 election cycle, and COVID updates.

Of course, social media is known for its ability to spread misinformation, so it is always important to check your sources before sharing anything. COVID gave us a shared experience that we haven’t had in a long time. Coupled with the presidential election in the US, people on social media now had something to talk about together. 

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People turned to social media to fill their time

On average, Americans spent 82 minutes a day on social media. This increased 7 minutes from 2019. Vox surveyed their readers about their social media usage pre and post-pandemic. Some said they’re scrolling more and posting less, which makes sense when everyone is stuck at home doing the same thing every day. There’s nothing exciting to post about. But others said they posted more, using social media as a creative outlet or a way to combat boredom. 


honestly i’ve never laughed harder while trying to make a video

♬ Follow Insta shelliehematian – Shellie & Shirel

Many new creators popped up on TikTok over the course of the beginning of lockdown. Bored college and high school students, isolated artists, dancers, and bibliophiles alike turned to TikTok to fill their time and some even built a following. Apps like TikTok have become a great way for new creators to build a following due to the app’s algorithm. A user’s main feed curates videos from all kinds of creators, both new and old, based on interests, giving new creators a leg up from Instagram. With people turning to new forms of media like TikTok during the pandemic, it’s no wonder so many new creators have popped up.

This article was written by Brittany Files

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