Published Date: Feb 2024


The online digital economy has transformed how people connect, learn, work and do business all over the world. One significant trend that has emerged is the rise of the 'Creator Economy' - where online content creators are able to monetize their skills, passion and talents directly through digital platforms. While this phenomenon started in developed markets like the US and Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia regions are now seeing a growing creator economy of their own. Coherent Market Insights explores more about it in Middle East and Central Asia Creator Economy Market.

Social Media Influencing on the Rise

With smartphone and internet penetration growing rapidly across the region, social media platforms have emerged as a powerful channel for content creation and self-expression. Influencers across fashion, lifestyle, food, travel and entertainment verticals are building sizable followings by authentically showcasing their local experiences and culture. Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and regional networks like SangSang are enabling creators to monetize their audiences through brand endorsements, affiliate marketing and paid partnerships. Beauty, fashion and fitness influencers in particular have found the most success in capitalizing on brands looking to reach young, trendsetting consumers in the region.

YouTube Content Creation Booming

YouTube has established itself as the leading video platform across Middle East and Central Asia, with viewership growing steadily year-over-year. Local content in native languages is driving much of this growth. Popular genres include comedy/pranks, gaming/esports, how-to tutorials, recipes/cooking shows, and commentary/reaction videos. Top YouTube stars from the region are now able to earn a respectable living solely from the advertising revenue share and brand deals associated with their channels. Live streaming is another big avenue that's gained traction, with personalities streaming everything from gameplay to question/answer sessions with their audience.

Podcasting & Audio on the Rise

While still nascent compared to more developed markets, podcasting and audio platforms are beginning to take off in the region as well. Podcasts covering local current affairs, spirituality/religion, self-help and entertainment have found dedicated listeners. Global apps like Spotify and Anchor along with regional players like Anghami are helping to discover and cultivate local podcast talent. With commute times growing in urban centers and audio being more compatible with local languages/dialects than video, this medium holds great potential for future creator monetization.

Online Education & Tutoring Booming

The pandemic accelerated the digitization of education systems across the world. In the Middle East and Central Asia as well, e-learning emerged as a necessity with schools and colleges shifting online. Several local entrepreneurs identified the opportunity and launched online learning platforms that connect students to private tutors or provide recorded video courses. Subjects ranging from mathematics, sciences to arts, foreign languages, test prep and professional certifications are in high demand. Top online tutors and course creators have been able to attract thousands of paid subscribers through effective marketing on social networks. With the convenience and affordability over traditional tutoring, online education looks set for continued growth even in the post-Covid era.

Freelancing & Digital Creative Services

Web design, graphic design, video editing, content writing and digital marketing are some of the top freelance skills that creators in the region have leveraged to find work online through platforms like Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer. With the proliferation of small businesses and startups, the demand for outsourced digital services is on an upswing. Some full-time freelancers in these fields have reported consistently earning over $2000-3000 per month through their online projects - a lucrative income compared to average wages locally. Management consultancies, legal transcription and virtual assistance are other white-collar freelance categories witnessing increased creator interest and participation.

Live Streaming Commerce Emerges

Inspired by the success of QVC-style live stream shopping in China, several startups in the region have launched similar platforms tailored for local audiences. Regional eCommerce giants like Souq and Noon have incorporated social selling features as well. Live stream shopping is proving popular across the Middle East and Central Asia, where consumers enjoy interactive engagement and the sense of community while browsing product catalogues and making purchases in real-time. Top lifestyle influencers and merchants are leveraging their fanbases through live commerce initiatives targeted towards women buyers of fashion, beauty and homeware items. With fulfillment and payment infrastructure rapidly improving across markets, the livestream shopping model holds strong growth prospects.

Market Outlook

The creator economy in the Middle East and Central Asia region has expanded rapidly in the past few years on the back of growing internet penetration, proliferation of social media platforms, and the rising number of young, digital-native consumers who form the core audience for online content and services.

For more comprehensive analysis into the emerging trends, opportunities and market size projections of this evolving sector, refer to the extensive research report published by Coherent Market Insights titled "The Middle East and Central Asia Creator Economy Report 2022". The report provides an in-depth examination of how digital technologies are empowering individuals across various fields to monetize their creative skills and talent directly through emerging platforms and business models in the online ecosystem. While the Middle East dominates the current landscape owing to factors like early technology adoption in GCC countries, fast-growing markets in Central Asia are projected to drive future growth at an even higher pace. The creator economy remains a highly fragmented yet globally interconnected market with immense potential that is expected to impact traditional industries and reinvent self-employment across the region in the coming decade.