How many people use ad blockers worldwide?
Online ads are designed to make money. But internet users hate them so much that many would rather pay money for an ad blocker or an ad-free service than see ads.
In place of old-school charm and inventiveness, today’s internet advertisers are powered by your data. It should make the ads you see more relevant and welcome. Instead, at times they can become annoying or even reputation-damaging. Just ask the British MP who publicly called out a rival party for advertising a niche dating service on its site, only to find out the ad was personalized to him
But how about internet users in other parts of the world? Surfshark wondered whether the hatred for online ads is universal and where the desire for effective ad blocking is the strongest. So, we analyzed every country’s search volume data for the top ad blocking software and balanced the figure against the population of internet users to see who hates ads the most.
- France is the country that hates online ads the most, with 579 searches for ad blocking software per 100,000 internet users.
- The US is the 23rd most allergic to internet advertising – we identified nearly 1m searches per month among an online population of 312m people (300 per 100,000).
- Nigeria is the country most tolerant of online ads, with just 1 search per 100,000 users.
Which countries want to block ads the most?
Internet advertising… it’s just not very French, is it? “For a very long time, French intellectuals associated advertising with something destructive to culture, going back to Voltaire and beyond,” clarifies Caroline Marti, a media sciences professor at the Sorbonne. Or, as a French anti-ad campaigner puts it: “advertising breaks your spirit, confuses you about what you really need, and distracts you from real problems.”
France is the place with the biggest search volume for ad blocking software by a considerable margin. Surfshark found 579 searches per 100,000 internet users in France, compared to 510 for second-placed Sweden. 9 of the 10 countries that hate ads the most are in Europe – the other place is Canada, with 394 searches per 100 000 users.
Canada is the North American country that is (by far) the most allergic to online ads, with 394 searches per 100,000 users. The US comes in second at 300 searches per 100,000 users. A recent survey on attitudes toward online advertising in Canada suggested that 44% of Canadians will put up with ads if they get something for free in return. However, 43% said they found online ads annoying.
The US and Canada stand at the very top when it comes to the volume of searches for ad blocking. Yet both are under the worldwide average of 37% for ad blocker use, with 34.2% and 35% of users respectively choosing to use ad blocking software.
Third-placed Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gets just 194 monthly searches per 100,000, and the next highest is Mexico with 138.
Argentina’s 33,561,876 internet users make 89,705 searches for ad blocking software each month. That’s 267 per 100k, making Argentina the most ad-allergic country in South America.
Brazil doesn’t seem to mind ads as much. Brazilian advertisers direct 60% of their ad budget to web ads, which is 10% more than in the US. Still, there are only 157 monthly searches for ad blocking software per 100k internet users in Brazil.
Scandinavia doesn’t like ads. Sweden had the second most searches for ad blocking software in Europe, while Denmark, Norway, and Finland are also in the top 10.
The UK is mid-way down the table of ad haters, with 266 searches per 100,000 people. Internet advertising is the only area of UK marketing budgets to record positive growth in recent times.
Middle East & Central Asia
Turkey has searched for ad blocking software the most in this region, with 311 searches per 100,000 users, compared to second-placed Israel at 287 per 100,000. There is a relatively small but fast-growing e-commerce market in Turkey, with a significant part of the population still new to online life. Internet shopping has yet to gain traction, with just one-third of Turkish internet users buying online.
The Israeli disdain for online ads is apparently due to a low tolerance for sales talk. However, the insensitive use of social stereotypes may also be causing marketing campaigns in Israel to fail.
The rest of Asia & Oceania
The web-going populations of Australia and New Zealand have very little time for online ads. Both countries are among the top 20 in the world when it comes to searches for ad blocking software.
Fiji is one of the most ad-tolerant countries in our study. The population of 452,479 internet users makes just 110 individual searches for ad blockers per month — that’s 24 per 100,000 users.
Three countries stand out in the battle against ads in Africa: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia each make a little over 200 searches for ad block software per 100,000 users per month. Tunisia and Morocco are both among Africa’s biggest internet users, with Morocco enjoying a boom in online activity over the past half-decade.
Nigeria is the least ad-resistant country in our study, with just one search per 100,000 users. All in all, there are relatively few searches for ad blockers across Africa compared to other regions. However, internet use and online marketing are booming across the continent, and a change in attitudes toward internet advertising could be on the cards.
The dangers of online ads
Thinking about investing in some ad blocking software? Chances are your main motivation is to rid your screen of annoying distractions. But online advertising has more serious implications.
Targeted advertising compromises your privacy. Attention-grabbing pop-ups eat up your data limit. So-called “malvertising” can infect your device with malware. Online ads can cost you much more than the price of the occasional impulse buy.
Wondering where your home country ranks in the battle against ads? Take a look at our table below for a closer look at the complete data from our study.
We compiled a comprehensive list of ad-blocking software using authoritative sources including, TomsGuide, Mozilla, DigitalTrends. Then we used Ahrefs to find out which countries regularly search for them on Google the most. Then we took the number of internet users in each country from the Telecommunication Union, divided the number of monthly Google searches by the number of internet users, and multiplied by 100,000 in order to make the results more readable.
Methodology & Sources
We compiled a comprehensive list of ad-blocking software using authoritative sources, including TomsGuide, Mozilla, and DigitalTrends. Then we used Ahrefs to find out which countries regularly search for them on Google the most. Then we took the number of internet users in each country from the Telecommunication Union, divided the number of monthly Google searches by the number of internet users, and multiplied by 100,000 in order to make the results more readable.
What percentage of internet users use ad blockers?
The worldwide average for ad blocker usage is right around 37%. Asian countries such as Vietnam, China, and Indonesia lead the pack, with more than 40% of all internet users using ad blocking software.
How many Gen Zs use ad blockers?
The number of ad blocker statistics for Generation Z is right about at the worldwide average of 37%, with around 34% of females and 40% of males from this generation choosing to use ad blocking software.