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Is Ad-Blocker Use Finally Slowing? eMarketer Looks to Europe

There’s good news and bad news from the United Kingdom: The bad is that ad-blocker use is still on the rise. The good is that it isn’t rising as quickly as it used to.

Research company eMarketer released data on European ad blocker adoption, finding that 15.3 percent of U.K. desktops have a blocker installed this year, and that will grow to 16.1 percent next year. Additionally, 5.8 percent of phones have a blocker, growing to 6.9 percent next year.

Ad blocker use is spreading, no longer the domain of young men and early adopters. Over a fifth of U.K. internet users—22.2 percent—will use a blocker on at least one device by next year.

“The rate of growth in ad blocking users still presents a very real problem for advertisers and marketers,” said Bill Fisher, eMarketer’s senior U.K. analyst. “However, the threat hasn’t taken off quite as quickly as we’d originally thought.” People can be persuaded to turn off their blocker if publishers communicate the importance of ad support for content.

Meanwhile, Germans were early adopters to ad blockers and still use them at a high rate. They’re especially popular with young people: 52.1 percent of Germans age 18 to 24 use a blocker, while 40.7 percent of those 25 to 34 do so. By the end of 2018, 30.8 percent of online Germans will use a blocker on at least one device.

For Germans, blocker use is as much about personal privacy as avoiding ads.

“Consumers in Germany have always been relatively more concerned about potential breaches of privacy and security online than their counterparts in the U.K.,” says Karin von Abrams, a principal analyst with eMarketer. “A majority find digital ads intrusive and feel they deliver no benefit; in addition, many internet users dislike the fact that advertisers track their online behavior and may make commercial use of that data.”

For more European data, download “Ad blocking in France, Germany and the U.K.: User Numbers Still Rising as Publishers Explore New Tactics,” a paid download.


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