One in ten people signed up to ad blockers last quarter

A tenth of all adult computer users downloaded an ad blocker at the end of last year, according to an international survey of more than 50,000 people by GlobalWebIndex.

The rolling quarterly survey polls people in 34 countries on whether they have used an ad blocker on their main computer in the past month.

The proportion doing so remained stable at 27% to 28% for a year, but jumped to 38% in the last quarter of 2015, which followed news coverage of Apple allowing ad blocking in its mobile ecosystem and ad blocking apps proving popular.

Jason Mander, director of research and insight at GlobalWebIndex, said: “A number of factors have combined to cause this rise, from the almost-constant media coverage enjoyed by the subject to the proliferation of free and easily-available tools.

“But the arrival of ad-blocking on mobile has also been encouraging people to adopt this approach across all of their devices.”

Mobile ad blocking was not measured by GlobalWebIndex until last quarter, meaning it cannot yet provide any trend figures.

However, its debut mobile survey showed that 36% of users said they had used an ad blocker on their mobile phone in the past month.

In addition, 42% said they had not done so but were interested in doing so in future and a fifth said they had not done so and were not interested in doing so in future.

“Arguably the most striking aspect of this data is the huge potential for ad-blocking to continue growing,” Mander said.

“Across every single age and gender break, it’s at least 70% who say they’re either blocking ads already or are interested in doing so in the future.

“Among 55- to 64-year-olds, for example, just 20% might be blocking ads currently but a further 51% express interest in doing it. That means mobile ad-blocking has to be considered a truly cross-demographic behaviour.”

There were wide variations in regional use of mobile ad blockers, with just 24% of people in Europe saying they had used one in the past month. Asia-Pacific was the outlier with 45% having used one.

Regional differences in the use of main computer ad blockers in the same quarter were tighter, ranging from 32% in the Middle East and Africa to 41% in North America.

The most recent research on ad blocking in the UK was carried out by the IAB, which last November revealed that the proportion of British people using ad blockers had risen from 15% to 18% over five months.