Ad Blocker Usage and Demographic Statistics in 2023
by Brian Dean · Updated Mar. 09, 2021
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)
- Ad blocker usage worldwide
- Ad blocking by country
- Worldwide ad blocker usage demographics
- Reasons for using ad blockers
- Ad blocker user penetration in the US
- Detected ad blocker usage in the US
- Ad blocker usage by device in the US
- Ad blocker usage demographics in the US
- Reasons for using ad blockers in the US
- Ad blocker user penetration in the UK
- Detected ad blocker usage in the UK
- Ad blocker usage by device in the UK
- Ad blocker usage demographics in the UK
- Reasons for using ad blockers in the UK
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.
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.
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:
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)|
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%).
Here’s a list of the primary reasons given for using ad blocking tools:
|“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%|
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.
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:
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:
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.
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|
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|
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):
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|
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.
Here’s a complete breakdown of ad blocking usage by age group in the US (per eMarketer’s 2021 data):
|Age group||Usage rate|
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:
|“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%|
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.
Here’s a table showing the ad blocker usage rate in the UK since 2016:
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:
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:
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):
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.
Here’s a table with the usage rate of ad blockers by age group in the UK:
|Age group||Usage rate|
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:
|“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%|
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.