Ad Blockers Usage and Demographic Statistics in 2021

Ad Blocker Usage and Demographic Statistics in 2021

Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Mar. 09, 2021

Ad Blocker Usage and Demographic Statistics

The first ad blocking extension was introduced to the market in 2002. The number of devices using ad blockers hit a milestone of 20 million in 2009.

Today, 42.7% of internet users worldwide report using an ad blocker. And the technology has expanded beyond the desktop. Ad-blocking software for mobile devices and tablets is now widely available.

Read on to discover all of the most important statistics about ad blocker usage. Here’s a breakdown of what we’ll cover:

Ad Blocking Stats (Top Picks)

  • 42.7% of internet users worldwide (16-64 years old) use ad blocking tools at least once a month.
  • 27% of American internet users block ads.
  • AdBlock, a popular blocking extension, is reported to have more than 65 million users.
  • Ad blocking is most common among internet users between 16 and 24 years old. Among this demographic, 46.2% of users worldwide admit to using ad blockers.

Ad blocker usage worldwide

Globally, 42.7% of internet users use ad blockers.

42.7% of internet users use ad blockers

Source: Hootsuite.

Ad blocking by country

Hootsuite found that ad blockers are generally used by at least 40% of the global population. 52.17% (24) of the analyzed  countries showed ad blocker penetration of 40% or higher.

Ad blocking by country

Among the countries studied, only 3 (Japan, Ghana and Morocco) had ad blocker penetration of less than 25%.

Here’s a list of all 46 countries that Hootsuite analyzed, ranked by the percentage of ad blockers used among internet users aged 16-64:

Country Usage rate
Indonesia 56.8%
India 50.7%
South Africa 49.2%
Malaysia 49.0%
Portugal 47.0%
China 46.1%
Philippines 45.3%
Taiwan 45.0%
Colombia 44.7%
Argentina 44.3%
Poland 44.3%
Austria 43.0%
Romania 42.7%
Turkey 42.5%
New Zealand 42.3%
Saudi Arabia 41.6%
Canada 41.3%
Singapore 41.3%
Spain 41.0%
Brazil 40.7%
Ireland 40.4%
Sweden 40.2%
Germany 40.1%
Thailand 40.0%
UAE 39.6%
Israel 39.4%
Mexico 39.2%
Hong Kong 38.8%
USA 38.8%
Egypt 38.4%
France 36.8%
Belgium 36.6%
Kenya 36.5%
Switzerland 36.3%
Australia 36.0%
Denmark 36.0%
UK 35.2%
Vietnam 34.7%
Russia 34.4%
Netherlands 33.6%
Italy 33.4%
Nigeria 33.2%
South Korea 29.6%
Japan 22.3%
Ghana 17.5%
Morocco 17.2%

Source: Hootsuite.

Worldwide ad blocker usage demographics

The use of ad blockers is more prevalent among men than women. Men are the bigger users of ad blockers across every age group. Ad blockers are most popular among men aged 16-24, 49.2% of whom use ad blocking software (compared to 43.2% of women).

For both male and female users, ad blockers are more popular among those under the age of 35.

Here’s a table showing gender & age demographics of global ad blocker users:

Age group % of total who use ad blockers (female, male)
16-24 43.2%, 49.2%
25-34 43.0%, 47.6%
35-44 38.4%, 44.8%
45-54 33.5%, 39.1%
55-65 32.1%, 37.3%

Source: Hootsuite.

Reasons for using ad blockers

Globally, the most commonly reported reasons for using ad blockers include excessive amounts of ads (22.3%), the irrelevance of ad messages (22.3%), and the intrusion factor (19.9%).

Reasons for using ad blockers

Here’s a list of the primary reasons given for using ad blocking tools:

Reason Share
“There are too many ads on the Internet” 22.3%
“Too many ads are annoying or irrelevant” 22.3%
“Ads are too intrusive” 19.9%
“Ads take up too much screen space” 16.7%
“Ads sometimes contain viruses or bugs” 16.5%
“To speed up page loading times” 14.6%
“To avoid ads before watching videos or shows” 13.3%
“I try to avoid all advertising (online and offline)” 13.0%
“Ads might compromise my online privacy” 11.2%
“To stop my data allowance from being used up” 10.5%

Source: Hootsuite.

Ad blocker user penetration in the US

As seen above, Hootsuite estimates 38.8% of Americans use ad blockers. But there are lots of competing estimates out there.

For example, eMarketer reports that 27% of internet users in the US block ads. An increase of 3.3% since 2020.

Ad blocker user penetration in the US

In fact, per eMarketer figures, the share of American internet users blocking ads has increased by 71.97% since 2014. Seven years ago, only 15.7% of US users utilized ad blockers.

Here’s a table with the eMarketer data on ad blocker usage in the US since 2014:

Year Usage rate
2014 15.7%
2015 20.6%
2016 21.5%
2017 23.6%
2018 24.9%
2019 25.8%
2020 26.4%
2021 27%

AudienceProject estimates that the number of US ad blocker users is even higher than Hootsuite’s estimates. In their survey, 41% of respondents reported using an ad blocker, up from 39% in 2018.

Interestingly, the AudienceProject data shows a significant downturn in ad blocker usage compared to 2016.

Here’s the ad blocking usage rate among American users since 2016, according to AudienceProject:

Year Usage rate
2016 52%
2018 39%
2020 41%

Sources: Statista, eMarketer, AudienceProject.

Detected ad blocker usage in the US

While up to 41% of American internet users report using ad blockers, the share of sessions in which ad blocker usage is detected is significantly lower.

Ad blocking is detected in 18% of web sessions on computers among American users. The detected usage of ad blockers has declined slightly since 2016 when the use of blocking technology was tracked in 23% of sessions.

Ad blocking is detected in 18% of web sessions on computers among US users

Here’s a complete overview of the detection rate of ad blocking software in US browsing sessions since 2016:

Date Detection rate of ad blocking on computer
Q3 2016 23%
Q2 2018 21%
Q2 2020 18%

Meanwhile, the detected rate of ad blocking on mobile devices is lower than desktop. However, unlike on desktop, the percentage of mobile sessions demonstrably using ad blockers is on the rise. 7% of mobile sessions involve detectable ad blocking, an increase from 2% in 2016.

Here’s a table with a detected usage rate of mobile ad blocking in the US since 2016:

Date Usage detection rate of ad blocking on mobile
Q3 2016 2%
Q2 2018 5%
Q2 2020 7%

Source: AudienceProject.

Ad blocker usage by device in the US

Ad blockers in the US are predominantly used on computers. An AudienceProject survey found that 37% of respondents blocked ads while using a desktop computer.

By comparison, only 15% of respondents said that they used blockers on mobile devices.

Tablets have the lowest rate of ad blocker usage in the US. 10% of internet users in the US say that they block ads while browsing on a tablet.

Here’s a table showing ad blocker usage in the US by device type (as of 2020):

Device Usage rate
Computer 37%
Mobile 15%
Tablet 10%

Source: AudienceProject.

Ad blocker usage demographics in the US

Based on data from AudienceProject, ad blockers in the US are predominantly used by men. 49% of male respondents in the US reported the use of ad blockers. Interestingly, the disparity between male and female users is far more pronounced in the US than it is globally. Just 33% of US women use ad blockers.

By age group, ad blockers in the US are most popular with internet users aged 15-25. Meanwhile, the lowest usage of ad blockers is seen among the 36-45 age group, with 38% of respondents in this demographic using blocking software.

Here’s a table showing the US ad blocker penetration rate by age group (as of 2020):

Age group Usage rate
15-25 45%
26-35 42%
36-45 38%
46-55 42%
56+ 39%

Another data source (eMarketer) provides a significantly different outlook. According to the eMarketer figures, US men and women use ad blockers equally, with 27.2% of each group using blocking software.

Usage in the 18-24 age group is the most common, with 41% of US internet users utilizing ad blockers. Usage of ad blockers in the US is least common for people older than 65: 15.6% of those in the oldest age bracket use ad blocking tools.

Ad blocking usage by age group in the US

Here’s a complete breakdown of ad blocking usage by age group in the US (per eMarketer’s 2021 data):

Age group Usage rate
0-11 5.3%
12-17 35%
18-24 41%
25-34 36.8%
35-44 29.9%
45-54 29.8%
55-64 24.8%
65+ 15.6%

Sources: AudienceProject, eMarketer.

Reasons for using ad blockers in the US

Among Americans, the most popular reason for using ad blockers is that “websites are more manageable without banners”. 71% of AudienceProject respondents agreed with this statement.

Other commonly reported reasons for using ad blockers include privacy concerns and avoidance of irrelevant ad messages.

Here’s a list of common reasons why Americans use ad blockers:

Reason Share rate
“Websites are more manageable without banners” 71%
“I want to avoid offensive or irrelevant images/messages” 46%
“I don’t want my behavior to be tracked” 44%
“Websites load faster without ads” 41%
“I want to limit my data usage” 19%

Source: AudienceProject.

Ad blocker user penetration in the UK

36% of internet users in the UK use ad blockers. The share of UK users utilizing ad blockers has been on a steady decline since 2016 when almost half (47%) of those surveyed admitted to blocking ads.

36% of internet users in the UK use ad blockers

Here’s a table showing the ad blocker usage rate in the UK since 2016:

Year Usage rate
2016 47%
2018 41%
2020 36%

Source: AudienceProject.

Detected ad blocker usage in the UK

15% of web sessions on UK computers involve detected use of ad blocking software. The rate of detected usage in the UK has decreased by 42.3% over the last 4 years, dropping from a 26% share of all sessions.

Here’s some historical data on the share of UK web sessions featuring detected ad blocking since 2016:

Date Usage rate
Q3 2016 26%
Q2 2018 25%
Q2 2020 15%

The share of UK sessions in which ad blocking is detected is lower on mobile devices. Ad blockers are detected in 6% of all UK mobile browsing sessions

We’ve produced a table showing the share of UK mobile sessions featuring detected use of an ad blocker since 2016:

Date Usage rate
Q3 2016 2%
Q2 2018 8%
Q2 2020 6%

Source: AudienceProject.

Ad blocker usage by device in the UK

29% of British residents report using ad blockers on computers.

Mobile usage of ad blocking software among UK internet users stands at 12%, while 9% of users report blocking ads on tablets.

Here’s a complete overview of ad blocker usage by device type in the UK (as of 2020):

Device Usage rate
Computer 29%
Mobile 12%
Tablet 9%

Source: AudienceProject.

Ad blocker usage demographics in the UK

42% of male internet users in the UK report using ad blockers, compared to 29% of female users.

By age group, usage of ad blockers is most common among younger people in the UK. A 41% share of survey respondents aged 15-25 stated that they use ad blocking tools.

Ad blocker usage demographics in the UK

Here’s a table with the usage rate of ad blockers by age group in the UK:

Age group Usage rate
15-25 41%
26-35 40%
36-45 34%
46-55 33%
56+ 33%

Source: AudienceProject.

Reasons for using ad blockers in the UK

As in the US, viewing websites without banners is the primary stated reason for using ad blockers in the UK. Avoiding irrelevant or offensive images and/or messages is the second most popular reason provided.

Here’s a table with the most commonly reported reasons for the use of ad blockers in the UK:

Reason Share rate
“Websites are more manageable without banners” 70%
“I want to avoid offensive or irrelevant images/messages” 50%
“I don’t want my behavior to be tracked” 39%
“Websites load faster without ads” 35%
“I want to limit my data usage” 14%

Source: AudienceProject.

Conclusion

That’s it for my ad blockers roundup.

Ad blockers are still used by a minority of internet users overall. But usage has definitely become a more mainstream practice, presenting a major challenge for advertisers.

A growing number of websites restrict access to users who have installed blocking software. But detection rates remain pretty low. It will be interesting to see how the ads industry evolves.

Now it’s time to have your say:

What did you think of these ad blocker statistics? Any questions or comments? Is there anything else you would like me to mention on this page?

Don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section below.

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *