For this week’s first Chart of the Day, we preview our Trends 2016 report – which looks at ten of the biggest digital stories for the year ahead.

Ad-blocking has captured a lot of headlines in recent months, despite the fact it’s still just 28% of online adults who say they are deploying one of these tools.

The heaviest consumers of the internet, 16-24s, are at the very forefront of the trend, with over a third of them blocking ads. But that presents something of a paradox: older groups are the most concerned about their privacy and personalized recommendations/ads and yet are the least likely to be blocking ads.

That’s surely a symptom of awareness; currently, older groups are the least likely to know what ad-blockers are. As such tools become more mainstream, there can be little doubt that usage levels will creep upwards and show fewer variations by age. It’s certainly telling that 55-64s are already about as likely as 16-24s to be deleting cookies on a regular basis, an action which is rather more established and well-known among internet users.

In light of these trends, trying to resist the spread of ad-blocking feels rather futile. It’s akin to the complaints that traditional suppliers in other sectors have been leveling at disruptor services such as Uber and Airbnb; rather than hoping that the problem will disappear and that consumers will suddenly become ultra-moral or self-aware, we need to recognize that the game has changed. With our research showing that smartphone owners (and those with an iPhone 6 in particular) are already ahead of average for using ad-blockers, this is a trend which is here to stay. And which will get much more mainstream in the months ahead.


Written by

Jason is Chief Research Officer at GWI. He's the main man who leads our global team of analysts, delivering world-renowned research. He's an in-demand data junkie who you might see popping up on your telly screens every so often to show you what's actually happening in the lives of consumers.

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