Ad Blocking Grows Globally, but U.S. Lags — for Now

February 1, 2017

By Erik Sass

Adoption of mobile ad-blocking software is growing fast around the world, but the usage rate remains relatively low in the United States, compared to other countries, according to a new report from PageFair, which provides publishers with tools to mitigate the impact of ad blocking via alternative ad delivery techniques.

Globally, the number of mobile devices with ad blocking software installed jumped 38% from 275 million at the end of 2015 to 380 million at the end of 2016. The number of desktop computers with ad blocking installed edged up 9% from 216 million to 236 million over the same period.

The high growth rate for mobile ad blocking marks a continuation of a previous trend, more than doubling the initial figure of 145 million at the end of 2014.

On a positive note, mobile ad-blocking remains relatively rare in the U.S., with just 1% of the online population using mobile ad blockers, compared to 18% of the online population using desktop ad blockers. But PageFair warns there is nothing to prevent a rapid increase in mobile ad-blocking here, replicating trends in other parts of the world, especially the Asia-Pacific region.

PageFair pointed to the example of China, where mobile ad-blocking adoption has soared to 13% of the online population; Malaysia, at 8%; Singapore, at 9%; India, at 28%; and Indonesia, at a whopping 58%. Across the Asia-Pacific region, 16% of the online population has downloaded mobile ad-blocking software.

Returning to the U.S., PageFair noted the demographics of mobile ad-blockers have changed in ways suggesting a rapid increase in ad-blocking rates in the near future. Specifically, more women and older people appear to be using mobile ad blocking than in previous studies, indicating it may be going "mainstream."

Asked why they downloaded desktop ad-blocking software, men were more likely to cite interruptive ad messages, while women were more likely to cite concerns about security including viruses and malware.

PageFair also warned ad-blocking rates could increase rapidly if manufacturers begin including ad-blocking software as a preinstalled option on devices in the U.S. market.


"Ad Blocking Grows Globally, but U.S. Lags — for Now." MediaPost, 2/1/17.

You must be logged in to submit a comment.