Spring Insights

Trends & Insights 2022

Generation tribe...


The creator economy is evolving to become the community-driven economy.

Web 3.0 will be transformative for the next generation of fans, giving them more control over creators, platforms and brands than ever before.

This report explores the new generation of super-fans, the growth of community commerce and the trends and technologies that are driving this shift.

To support our research we surveyed over 8000 of our creator’s fans to gain a deeper understanding of fans’ mindset and behaviors.


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Section 1

Mapping the fanscape

The landscape of online fandom is shifting. Spring has identified 12 fan personas based on the level of ownership and investment of emotion, energy, time and money fans put into their favorite creators.

 In the future new tiers of online fandom will be unlocked. We will see the rise of the cult fan – those who buy multiples of merch, pre-fund work and want to own originals.

The new pyramid of online fandom

“New business models have the potential to unlock new tiers of fandom.” Source: Li Jin

Cult fans

Buys multiples, pre-fund work, want to own originals

Active fans

1000 true fans


Only see opportunity to profit

Super fans

100 true fans

Casual fans

All social followers

intensity of fan affinity / intentionality


of fans describe themselves as active fans


describe themselves as casual fans


are super fans

Key stats (Spring survey)

Section 2

Entering the community -

driven economy

  • Community commerce
  • Driven by creators, community commerce blends fandom, entertainment and shopping – allowing for product discovery and transaction at rapid speed.
  • Fandom
  • Content
  • Commerce


say their #1 reason for buying merch from a creator is to support them.


of fans interact with the community in the comment section and 14% do so every day.


describe themselves as creative and 45% would like to collaborate with creators to help design merch.

Key stats (Spring survey)

Entering the community economy

We are shifting from the creator economy to the community economy. We predict that the future of the community economy will be built around consciousness, curation and creation. 


Creators curating and plugging brand products into their content that they know will resonate with their fans.


Fandoms raising awareness of upcoming drops, working together to harness hype, share opinions and feed ‘leaks’ into the community.


Fandoms working with creators to co-create merch, brands and fan universes. 

The state of youth: Next-gen fans

Move over Gen Z

Meet Gen Alpha

Alpha’s are the first generation of children to be shaped in an era of portable digital devices and born into a world of engaging, visual, digital content. Gen Alpha have never known a world without social media, and their online activity is beginning to play a large role in their IRL decisions.

Their peer-to-peer connections are driving shopping decisions and social recommendations are stimulating impulse purchasing. Gaming is highly influential and for Gen Alpha it’s a space that allows them to learn, be creative as well as to socialize and build connections.

  • Born between 2010 to 2024

  • 2010: ipad launched

  • Majority is under 12 years of age*
  • the oldest will become teens in 2023 Shaped by technology & Gen Z creators
  • Shaped by technology & Gen Z creators

  • Generation COVID

Future behaviours

  • Adaptable
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Collaborative
  • Creative

Future drivers

  • Frequent global disruption & volatility
  • Personalized & predictive tech
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Blockchain & NFTs
  • Virtual worlds & gamification
  • Voice-recognition
  • Gesture control
  • Creator economy
  • Community-influenced

Section 4

The trends

Spring has identified 3 key trends that will fuel community-driven commerce innovation for the Web 3.0 generation of creators and fans. Our trend report explores in-depth closed communities, custom creations and collaboration culture.

As communities get closer, memberships and private channels lead the way with gated experiences waiting to be unlocked.

With a focus on forging digital identity, fans are able to build the virtual spaces and content they want and express themselves in new ways.

Community-powered ideas and products will driven innovation for creators.

  • Closed communities

  • Custom creations

  • Collaboration culture
Community-powered ideas and products will driven innovation for creators.

Collaborative NFTs

Crowdsourced creativity

Fan-financed content

Squad shopping

thanks for reading

Download the full trend report here