The Future of the Creator Economy

by Gooten Editorial Team on Feb. 6, 2024

What’s the status of the creator economy? Join Gooten in exploring some important trends shaping the print on demand landscape.

Over the past several years, the creator economy has experienced unprecedented growth and evolution. That growth reached a pinnacle during the COVID pandemic, when home-bound creatives sought new ways to monetize their art and design work and to ship it to quarantined consumers. Pandemic precautions are behind us now, but the creator economy is still humming along, with more opportunity than ever before for creatives to turn their original work into money-making opportunities.

Naturally, print on demand plays a huge role in the ongoing evolution of the creator economy. Since Gooten provides key partnerships with so many makers, we like to keep an eye on where this industry is now, and where it’s headed. In this post, we’ll highlight some of the trends that we see shaping the creator economy in the months and years to come.

Trends for Creatives

First of all, what kind of trends do we anticipate among artists, designers, and other creative professionals? Here are a couple of predictions. 

  •   In 2024, more creatives will launch their own brand product lines. There are a ton of creatives who have made a name for themselves, drawing rave reviews and huge audiences for their original designs. We’re beginning to see more and more creatives actually consolidating and capitalizing on that name recognition, providing branded product lines that help them expand their market visibility.
  •   We also anticipate a greater adoption of AI technology. Creatives are beginning to see that AI isn’t going to put them out of business, but in fact might help them run their businesses more effectively. In the coming years, we anticipate a growing reliance on AI to ideate new products, to translate text into different languages, and so on.

Trends for Platforms

There is no shortage of platforms that provide creatives with the space they need to showcase their products, connect with an audience, and ultimately close some sales. But these platforms, too, are subject to change. Here are some of the trends we foresee:

  •   We think platforms will downsize and consolidate. The creator economy has been so successful that we now have more than enough platforms to go around. In the coming year, we think some of the struggling platforms will close shop or get bought out, providing creatives with a clearer set of options.
  •   Platforms will offer creatives more opportunities to own their audiences and diversify their income streams. We expect to see a big shift toward live commerce, allowing creatives to sell directly through livestreams; more subscription models and exclusive content and more tools and technology to empower the creator. 

  We also expect to see greater transparency. One of the most encouraging trends in recent years has been seeing platforms become more and more loyal and supportive of their creatives. One specific instance of this is the move toward increased transparency regarding how algorithms work, how creatives get paid, etc.

Another Notable Trend: Creative Community

There’s another significant change to the creative landscape that has big implications for creatives and platforms alike… and that’s the increased focus on connection and community.

We are seeing a rapid rise in the number of smaller, more dedicated audiences who share specific niche interests.  These smaller communities  can have a huge impact on the success of creatives, providing them with encouragement, support, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging.  More practically, community provides more opportunities for content sharing and even for strategic cross-selling opportunities.

We’re excited to see so many communities springing up to provide creatives with a built-in infrastructure, and we hope to see more of that in the future. We are especially pleased about how the creative community provides newcomers with an easier way to find their footing and learn the ropes.

Building Community through Merch

Many of the smaller content creators are often hesitant to launch merch as they are first focused on building community and engagement.  Interestingly enough, it is the community that often demands merch drops as a way to support their favorite content creators.  For those content creators, print on demand is an optimal solution.

Low cost and low risk – no need to buy or stock inventory

Broad range of products – the standard mug and the t-shirt will always be available, but the growing selection of products available for print on demand is growing everyday and can align well with the content creators values and brand image. 

Global Fulfillment Network – the best print on demand networks are global.  So content creators can just as easily serve and connect with a fan 5000 miles away as one that lives in the next city.

For Creatives, the Future is Bright

The bottom line: The creator economy is ever-changing, and in the coming months, we think the change is all going to be for the better. We’re excited about the ways in which this landscape is changing, particularly as it shifts toward creator ownership, data transparency, community, and an embrace of game-changing tech.

We’d love to tell you more about the state of the creator economy, and to partner with you as you navigate these fascinating trends. To find out more about print on demand partnerships, reach out to the Gooten team today.

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