One in four people forecast to use ad-blockers by 2017

More than a quarter of UK internet users will be using ad-blocking software by the end of 2017, according to a new report by eMarketer.

By the end of next year, the report says, 27 per cent of internet users, or 14.7 million people, will use ad-blockers. This is up from 20.5 per cent by the end of 2016 and 14 per cent in 2015.

The software is mostly used on desktop and laptop computers, for which 24 per cent of users are forecast to use ad-blockers by the end of 2017, compared to 8.8 per cent for smartphones.

Of those that do use-ad blockers, 90.2 per cent do so on a desktop or laptop, while 28 per cent use them on a smartphone, with many users doing both at the same time, causing an overlap in the figures.

In 2015, such software was used by 13 per cent of desktop and laptop users and 2.6 per cent of smartphone users.

The research follows much debate about ad-blocking at Advertising Week Europe this week, with the Internet Advertising Bureau estimating that 22 per cent of users are using such software. During a panel hosted by the IAB, a privacy campaigner claimed that publishers who block ad-blocking users are potentially breaking the law.

Bill Fisher, a senior analyst at eMarketer, said: "There's no doubting that ad-blocking is now a very real issue for advertisers. Next year, over a quarter of the people they're trying to reach will be wilfully making themselves unreachable. 

"The good news is that numbers like this have forced those within the industry to think long and hard about what it is that they need to do better in order that this practice doesn't become an epidemic."

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